[CES 2008] We are all familiar with emoticons on our instant messaging programs, and time has shown that emoticons have evolved to include animation. Here’s a possible next step up – a USB device that helps convey even more emotions via the i-Buddy. It resembles the MSN Messenger avatar, complete with a pair of wings. And if you’re wondering whether they flap or not, they do! The i-Buddy comes with a red LED on its left hand side of the torso to signify a heart, and its head glows in different color that corresponds to the emoticon received (e.g. red for angry). You must install a driver on the computer for the i-Buddy to work with it. Unfortunately, it isn’t compatible with other IM programs other than MSN Messenger as at press time. The i-Buddy was released in the UK last Christmas, and it will probably make an appearance in the US within a couple of months’ time with a retail price that lays smack between $19.99 and $24.99. Someone’s feeling blue above…

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