Update: The announcement of Sony’s new canine robo-pal could now be a matter of weeks away.
According to a source close to the matter speaking to The Wall Street Journal (paywall), Sony is planning a media event in November where it is going to announce a new robotic dog, although whether it is going to be classified as an Aibo is currently unclear.
Original story continues below…
The Sony Aibo, a robotic dog that was ahead of its time and would set you back around $2,000, stopped rolling off the production lines in 2006. If the rumors are to be believed, the iconic gadget of yesteryear could be about to stage a dramatic comeback.
That’s per a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, which says Sony is bringing back the old Aibo team to produce a new robot dog in 2018 – one that will be updated for the modern age with its own set of skills, just like the Amazon Echo and other similar smart speakers.
Color us interested: not only could you get your device to order an Uber and switch on your Philips Hue lights, it could also pad around the room and wag its tail while doing it. As yet, specific details like price and availability are pretty thin on the ground, however.
Sit, roll over, check the weather
While Sony sold around 150,000 of the robotic dogs the first time around, it didn’t really shift in big enough numbers to survive, and the Aibo was the victim of a reorganization at Sony that focused instead on mainstream electronics like consoles and televisions.
Now, the time could be right for an Aibo comeback. The Japanese company has certainly been in a more experimental mood in recent years, with devices like smart earbuds that talk back to you and projectors that can turn any surface into an instant touchscreen.
With every big name in tech now bringing out a smart speaker, perhaps Sony can get an edge over the competition by having a speaker that also moves and acts like a canine. The latest AI would enable it to behave a little more like the real thing too, according to reports.