This isn’t in the same category as the smart speaker that Mattel introduced back at CES. The Aristotle is essentially a caretaker for your child, starting out as a baby monitor and growing up with the child to serve such functions as a night light and storyteller. The Hello Hologram is more of a friend. She doesn’t control anything and can’t order from your favorite shopping site — a relief to parents, for sure. What she can do is answer simple questions, keep a calendar and even change her looks. That means not just her clothes, but also her hair and skin tone for a truly personalized play experience. The demo on display at Toy Fair only had three types available, but more will be added to the final product before launch.
Though the holographic Barbie is a 3D computer animation, the projection itself is only 2D, and won’t appear if you look at the box from the side. The tech powering Barbie’s conversation skills is a bit more advanced: it’s the same we saw in Hello Barbie and the Dreamhouse from previous years, and yes, there’s an app. A smartphone isn’t required to use the Hello Hologram, but it gives parents some control over their child’s interaction with it, like setting a bed time so they don’t sit up all night gossiping with the blonde (or brunette) avatar.