It does not seem like that should be a memory issue, since I have seen a whole lot of other toys that sing songs for as long as a minute, and don't cost even $20, NOT discounted. Probably it is more colsely related to the anticipated short attention span that many kids have been trained for.
Of course there3 are other explanations, such as a product defect, which sometimes products are deffective right out of the box. I have come across that a few times.
I do like the idea of hacking the module and changing the maximum number to something quite a bit higher, such as wherever it runs out of memory.
But memory is really cheap: if Microcenter can sell an 8Gb memory stick for $6 and still make money on it, memory must be very cheap. Of course, if the controller chip is ten cents in quantity, then the whole electronics portion must be very cheap. How much of that $30 represents profit? 50%, 75%? Does anybody know?
Perhaps the limit of three is not based on engineering or cost limits. There is a 1947 book by George Gamow with the title of One Two Three...Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science. If you want more information on it go to wikipedia. In the book Gamow mentions a society said to have words only for "one", "two", "three", and "many". Maybe the limit of three by the toy company was based on these concepts.
Having also designed products similar to this, the Licensor may require the the actual voice (Disney does for sure) so you need to consider the actual voice file size not a senthisized voice output. Frequently compressed files are not approved by the Licensor so the file may need to be full size. That said they should have had it count to ten, by resizing the product to reduce cost else where if needed.
Having worked as a toy inventor (EE by trade) for the past seven years and working directly with Hasbro and Mattel, I would say there are a number of issues at play that Hasbro need to take into account. Of the top of my head...
1. Memory is cheap but price point at retail is a big player. They're probably using a GeneralPlus or Winbond IC. It probably cost 10 cent in large qty. The few extra words aren't much but are probably a few K in memory. Format is usually 8 or 12kHz at 8 bit.
2. Is the child actually going to put in 10 cookies each time? They are probably going to put in at least three. So the cost for the higher numbers is probably not worth it.
3. I like the comment about cookies verse health food. Last year we heard alot from Sesame St. about how cookies are a "sometime food".
As a parent, yes he should have counted to ten! ;)
Aww only counts to 3? That's sad but it's probably memory issue. Depending on how they are synthesizing sound. To cut cost they probably used some cheap MCU with limited onboard memory. it almost sounds like a 4bit MCU? They still exist... If the MCU is fast enough u could still synthesize sound from a DIO pin.
Jennifer, so far I hadn't seen any such cookies. But I had seen various interactive educational toys and instruments for learning kids. What I felt is one way it's good and may help the kids for a proper pronounsation and to learn the things in an easier way. But what I found is such toys/instruments are made up of recycled materials and may be harmful for kids.
I didn't think about the cookie issue! But then again, it would be quite easy for a parent to take more than a daily allotted ration of cookies away from their child while he or she is playing with this toy, don't you think? Maybe the cookie bit was the design flaw in the product! I guess it's a decision between making a fun toy and an educational toy.
That is $10 dollars per number. Pretty good return on investment on Hasbro's part.
I would consider taking it apart and seeing if you could increase the count number in a "hacking" sense. If It plays sounds and such, I am sure there is a small microcontroller onboard. Perhaps it can be modified to run new code.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.