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Toys and Technology

If you have ever had to wrestle your iPad from your child’s clutches, you know that kids love playing on tablets and smartphones. The trend has not been missed by toymakers. They know that even before a child can read or speak, they have an affinity for these devices.

Enter the biggest trend at this year’s American International Toy Fair: toys that are either based on apps, or can be used with tablets and smartphones. The trend began last year, but this year the volume of products in this category will explode.

Some see the emerging trend as a way for toy companies to woo children back to their products, but others expect these technologies also can be used to enhance classic children’s play.

Whatever side you’re on, it is still too early to know what kids will think of these products and which ones will stand out in the crowd.

Already, several basic approaches to this market have sprung up. Some toymakers are using physical toys to interact with smartphones and tablets, while others are using apps to strengthen their brands by carving out a space for them in the virtual world. Another group is recognizing that these brands are an important pop culture phenomenon and are developing toys that bring these virtual characters and games to life in the real world.

Click ahead to see some ways tech, toys and tablets are melding together.

By Christina Cheddar-Berk
Posted 21 February 2012

Photo: Peter Gridley | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images