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Mattel is introducing Hot Wheels id, which lets kids race their NFC-enabled Hot Wheels on its Smart Track, and scan their collections into a free iOS app. In the app, which acts as a virtual garage, kids can track speed and laps via infrared sensors in the Hot Wheels Race Portal, which scans in your cars and connects to classic Hot Wheels tracks. It sounds great for kids who are into obsessively tracking details, and using cold, hard, data to back up claims on whose car is faster.
Companies have tried to find ways to keep classic brands alive by bolting on digital components, but sometimes in ways that felt too forced. Anki Drive, another toy that launched as an Apple exclusive, was a smartphone-controlled racing game with a similar…