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Image credit: Kris Naudus (AOL/Engadget)

Teddy Ruxpin's LCD makeover is occasionally charming

And sometimes a little creepy.
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Kris Naudus (AOL/Engadget)

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Teddy Ruxpin may be one of the iconic toys of the eighties but, let's face it, he was in need of a little update. After all, kids are used to looking at screens and a lot of them don't even know what a cassette tape is. Wicked Cool's new Teddy gets a bit of a 21st century makeover by baking LCDs right into his adorable furry face. He still reads stories to your kid, but now his eyes can say a lot more.

The 2017 Teddy is quite huggable, and his mouth still mechanically opens and closes in time with his soothing voice. But, instead of large plastic eyes that roll back and forth with a whirr, the bear's baby blues are a pair of small screens. Most of the time they're pretty standard cartoon eyes, with large black pupils, azure corneas and a white gleam. They blink, squint and you even get a little half circle popping up at the bottom to indicate that Teddy's smiling at you.

Gallery: Teddy Ruxpin hands-on | 9 Photos

However, when Teddy reads a story, the eyes display little images. You'll see hearts when he's talking about love and friendship, or even a small image of the earth when he sings about the world. The only time they're not showing anything is when Teddy's asleep -- and the doll has a pair of mechanical eyelids to cover up the dark void within. Wicked Cool is also planning on including a small facemask so he can have a proper beauty rest.

Children can follow along with the stories using the iOS or Android app, which displays illustrations and text at the pace of Teddy's dictation. It's a big step up from the books and cassettes that the original toy used. The app connects to the bear using Bluetooth, but it isn't required to interact with him. Kids can just push the button in Teddy's hand and he'll start telling a random tale from his repertoire.

Gallery: Teddy Ruxpin app | 4 Photos

Teddy Ruxpin comes packaged with three stories built in, and you don't use the app to download new programs. Instead, parents will plug the plush toy into to their computer via USB to get them from the website. While new stories won't be free, they'll probably cost somewhere around $6. Ten titles total will be available at launch, with another 10 planned for next year. As for Teddy, he'll be on store shelves this fall for $100.

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Kris runs Engadget's awesome product database with an iron fist. She's also written stuff for Anime Insider and Anime News Network, as well as a lengthy stint editing Pokémon things for The Pokémon Company. She still plays the games and seriously can't believe there are 807 Pokémon now.

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