Tamagotchi Friends Teardown

There’s a new Tamagotchi in town, so of course I had to get one (or two or three) and take it apart. The Tamagotchi Friends is the latest Tamagotchi version, which was released two days ago (December 16, 2013). It has similar functionality to previous Tamagotchis, but it also has NFC! The NFC functionality can be used to make Tamagotchis visit and give gifts, and can also be used to “SMS” other Tamagotchis. The Tamagotchi Friends does not have IR or use figures like previous Tamagotchis.

Introducing the latest Tamagotchi!

Introducing the latest Tamagotchi!

Overall, the look and feel of the Tamagotchi Friends is very similar to the TamaTown Tama-Go (which I have done most of my hacking on), the screen resolution and many of the screens are the same. There are a few differences though. There’s new characters, enhanced ‘social’ stats related to the NFC functionality, the ability to collect items and different foods and items. Also, in keeping with recent Tama parenting trends, there is no longer a way to discipline your Tamagotchi. That said, all the changes are superficial, and the vast majority of the Tamagotchi Friends and Tama-Go functionality is identical. This makes me strongly suspect the Tamagotchi Friends uses much of the same code as the Tama-Go, with some different images, and NFC functionality added.

Separated at birth?

Separated at birth?

Opening it up, the LCD looks very similar to the one used on the Tama-Go (likely the same exact part).


The PCB is quite different though. It is generally very sparse, and has a small number of components. The large IC is likely the EEPROM which is used to save the Tamagotchi state. On the left is the NFC antenna, which is attached using the red and black wires. What’s interesting is that the Tamagotchi Friends doesn’t seem to use any dedicated NFC component (at least which is visible). This means that the Tamagotchi microcontroller probably implements NFC directly.

PCB and NFC antenna

PCB and NFC antenna

Taking off the LCD, the microcontroller blob is also interesting, in that it is much smaller than the blob on the Tama-Go. This makes me suspect there could be a different MCU. There’s also a strange feature at the left, where the epoxy appears to cover pads similar to the LCD pads.


This leads me to three theories:

1) It uses the same MCU as the Tama-Go, but it is laid out better, so it can fit under less epoxy
2) It uses a similar MCU to the Tama-Go, but a more modern version which is smaller
3) It uses a different MCU (with the sub theory that there could be multiple dies under the epoxy)

My guess is 1 or 2 (leaning towards 1, as I haven’t heard of any updated GP microcontrollers coming out). But who knows? I’ll be trying to get the chip decapped, as well as playing with the NFC to see if I can figure out more!

Tamagotchi, Tamagotchi Friends

4 responses to Tamagotchi Friends Teardown

  1. Looks like what I expected: Tamago based hardware. Same display and I’m Pretty sure it’s the same CPU too. Because of the lack of a NFC it looks like they are just bit banging an inductive coil to transfer data. Remember the TamaTown/Go also just bit bangs an IR LED for transfers. I also think if you connect a piëzo speaker to the coil outputs. You can hear the transfers (because of the relatively low CPU speed). LOL maybe if you wire up two Tamagotchi Friends with each a speaker and a microphone they could litterally talk to each other 😀

    I think one very interesting thing to look into is torment a few more TamaTowns/gos to locate the debug/test pad(s) to upload executable code. I expect yhe Tamagotchi Friend to have the same debug/test mode code as the TamaTown. Once you got that working. Do the same on the Tama Friends and dump the firmware through the ABC buttons. Sounds like a good hack for 2014 don’t you think ? 🙂

  2. oddsandendsiwthlove

    was wondering if you could let me know if its easy to take the TF apart without damaging any of it to insert a glow in the dark background? im wanting to take this tasks but i cant afford another TF and i only have one O.O if you could msg me on tamatalk.com pretty please and let me know your opinion id be really grateful :3

  3. Lucas

    Can you please tell me how to fix the screen resolution on Tamagotchi Friends?

    I have tried adjusting the screen contrast but that did not help.

    Is there something that can be done?

    Thank you very much for your time

  4. Emily

    i love seeing people hack or take apart tamas, so i’m a HUGE fan!!♪♪♪

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