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Sega Toys' Poo-Chi hit markets on 1 April 2000, with Hasbro's Tiger Electronics distributing the toy in all countries other than Japan and Korea. Retailing at a price of 3,980 yen (then the equivalent of $38 USD) in Japan and $24.99 in the United States, the toy offered low-priced competition to Sony's AIBO's prices of up to 250,000 yen (then $2,400 USD). At the time, Hasbro's sales in their leading Furby line were slowing since its initial release in 1998 and sales of Star Wars branded merchandise was in decline. The Poo-Chi's release was a success, selling over 10 million units worldwide over the span of 8 months since its initial debut.
Special editions of the Poo-Chi soon sprouted, such as the 102 Dalmatians holiday release of three Poo-Chis resembling the characters Domino, Little Dipper, and Oddball. In addition to special editions, an upgraded version, the Super Poo-Chi, and differing breeds of the Poo-Chi were released (all of which could communicate together), along with spin-offs such as the Meow-Chi and the Chirpy-Chi. Miniature versions were featured as toys in the McDonald's Happy Meal.
Poo-Chi stopped selling in 2002.
The original Poo-Chi had a gray body with ears, tail, and leg joints of either purple, blue, pink or green colour. With four legs allowing the toy to stand up or lie down, it utilized a red LED display as eyes to show emotion.
For a short period of time, a limited edition of the Poo-Chi toy was produced for Christmas, coloured red and white with snowflake designs covering the body, ears, and included interactive bone. For the special release, the toy was shipped in a seasonal box and had its list of songs updated to include Christmas music. The Christmas Special Edition was only available in a handful of countries and even there was only retailed for 2–3 months, making it the rarest and most collectable of the genre with collectors realising in excess of $300 USD for boxed Christmas Poo-Chi units. Other Poo-Chi's had different color variations, different breeds, such as the Poodle and Bulldog.
Poo-Chi spoke using pre-recorded sounds such as barks, whines, and growls. These were not very realistic and often sounded more like beeps than anything. Poo-Chi could also "bark" songs, which could be prompted by pressing the button on the top of the head.
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Multiple spin-offs of the Poo-Chi were produced. All were based on different animals, other than the Super Poo-Chi, a larger version of the original toy.
- Meow-Chi - a robotic cat.
- Super Poo-Chi - a larger version of the original toy.
- Dino-Chi - a robotic dinosaur, with two types produced: the Dino-Chi T. Rex and the Dino-Chi Pterodactyl.
- Chirpy-Chi - a robotic bird.
- Petal-Chi - a robotic flower or plant.
- Baby-chi - a robotic baby.
You could make Poo-Chi sing one of 6 songs by triggering the light sensor (placing your hand or something else over his nose) and pressing the touch sensor on its head very quickly, until a series of high-pitched 'beeps' are heard. Then, press the touch sensor 1 to 6 times, each amount getting a different song. Poo-Chi sang and danced to songs such as 'The Wedding March' and 'When the Saints Come Marching In'. The different songs you can hear are listed below.
|# of times to press the touch sensor
(after you hear the high-pitched 'beeps')
|1||The Wedding March|
|4||I've Been Working on the Railroad/Home On the Range|
|6||When the Saints Come Marching In|
Poo-Chi would also often sing "Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven when happy, and if another Poo-Chi or Robo-Chi pet is nearby (such as a Meow-Chi), that other Robo-Chi would begin to sing "Ode to Joy" as well, though unsynchronized.
- "Poo-Chi Robotic Dog at ElectronicPets.org". Electronic Pets Ltd. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- Inouye, Itsuo (19 January 2000). "Puppy love". Chicago Sun-Times. Associated Press. p. 58.
- "Robofish splash down in Tokyo". BBC News. 16 March 2000. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "Poo-Chi Leads the Pack in Holiday Toy Sales" (Press release). Business Wire. 12 December 2000. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "Slow sales cause Hasbro second-quarter earnings to fall 80 percent". Associated Press (Pawtucket, RI). 20 July 2000.
- "The Walt Disney Company Annual Report 2000". Walt Disney Company. p. 41. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- Kageyama, Yuri (13 October 2000). "Sony hopes for success with new robotic pet". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. pp. A9.
- "Tiger Robo-Chi Pets™ Arrive at McDonald's February 23 Happy Meal Event to Feature Newest Cyber-Pal, Chirpy-Chi" (Press release). 20 February 2001. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "Poo-Chi Instruction Manual". Tiger Electronics. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "Pio-Chi Robot Dog by Tiger Electronics Ltd - The Old Robots Web Site". The Old Robots Web Site. Retrieved 1 May 2011.