WowWee Christmas Robot Shopping Guide

The 2006 holiday shopping season is well upon us now and you may be starting to panic: "What do I get for everyone?" Well, don't worry too much, we've got a number of gift ideas for all of the robot and/or toy enthusiasts in your circle of family and friends. One useful thing about some of these bots is that you can get multiple ones for different folks, because then they can play with them together! To make this a current guide, we've only included the newer bots from WowWee and have left out the Roboraptor and original Robosapien, although you can still pick those up at pretty good prices at your favorite retailers, online and brick & mortar. On with the guide...

Robosapien V2
The next generation Robosapien can't really be called the 'little' brother of the original Robo as he stands almost 8" taller than his older bro. But this is just the beginning. The RS V2 boasts more sensors, a more articulated hand that can grasp and pick up objects, has extended programmability, and speaks in clear English. Like his older relative, the RS V2 can also be hacked, as is evidenced by the multitude of articles and forums on the Internet. But even out of the box, the RS V2 has a slew of possibilities.
Ages: 8+.

Robopet
While this may seem like a pretty simple bot, this little one 'learns' and can autonomously explore his environment. As he randomly performs certain actions (like rolling over or howling, for example), you can either encourage or discourage those behaviors with a touch of a button. His array of sensors enable him to explore without bumping into obstacles.
Ages: 8+

Roboreptile
Some consider the Roboreptile the next generation Roboraptor. Well he is certainly more agile and faster, and some kids have even deemed him scary! This year, the Roboreptile is a top toy across the board, and you can't go wrong with this pick for your younger audience. He is another bot with a great deal of autonomous functionality, and will roam about without bumping into walls while 'looking' for food. Also programmable, the Roboreptile will be hours of fun for any 10 year old.
Ages: 8+

Alive Chimpanzee
Here's a non-mobile bot from WowWee. Well, mobile in the sense that he stays in one spot, but his face sure moves. A lot! The WowWee Alive Chimpanzee has 8 motors to drive his facial features and 9 sensors to react to the environment around him. Also programmable, the Chimp evokes a lot of different reactions from people, from scared and freaked out to pure amazement.
Ages: 8+

RS Media
More hacking possibilities from this next generation Robosapien. As the name suggests, this robot manipulates audio and video including recording and playback. But more than that, this bot comes with software that makes it even easier to program. You can go one step further than with the RS V2 and change his personality (he already comes with 4 different ones). This means you can modify his responses to various stimuli and actions. Unfortunately, the RS Media isn't yet available in the States, but folks in Britain and Australia can pick one up right now.
Ages: 8+

Robot Minis
For a cool, inexpensive stocking stuffer, pick up some Minis, miniature versions of the regular-sized Robots. Although they lack most of the advanced features of their larger brethren, the minis are easy on the wallet and fun to have around.

Now get out there and get shopping. Good luck!