Bandai, the creator of the original Tamagotchi, has announced another big move into the world of electronic animal care with Smartpet — a robot dog that uses your iPhone as a brain. Controlled via a free app, Smartpet will react to your touchscreen gestures with over 100 facial expressions, and you can make it do tricks by voice commands or movements in front of the Facetime camera. As the pet gets more emotionally attached to you it'll learn more reactions, and it can also sing and dance with other dogs via Bluetooth. It's not all fun and games, though, as Smartpet also functions as an alarm clock and handsfree phone.

It's out on April 24th in Japan for an open price, with most retailers selling it for around ¥6,500 ($78) in both black and white varieties, and Bandai says it expects to move over 200,000 units in the space of a year. Meanwhile, the app will be released on March 31st, and you'll able to use it without the robot attachment if you can't quite justify bringing a mechanical dog with you on the commute.