Remember the Aibo? It was Sony’s robot pet dog, and for years in the early 2000s, captured imaginations for being one of the most advanced robot pets on the market.
The Aibo was first released in 1999, but was sadly halted in 2006 as part of cost cutbacks by the Japanese firm.
But according to the Nikkei, the Aibo will be making a triumphant return in spring next year, with the company reinstating the original team behind the Aibo. They had been reportedly redeployed to other departments when the Aibo division was cut.
The new Aibo will come with several new tricks.
It’ll be less like a pet, and more like a smart home device.
For one, it’ll operate less like a “pet,” and more like a smart home device, equipped with AI and internet connectivity, similar to the smart speakers coming out of the likes of Amazon and Google.
Sony also plans to base the new Aibo on an open operating system, that’ll allow third party developers to add features to the little dog.
The development of AI now coming on by leaps and bounds could mean a fresh start for Aibo — as well as Sony, which will next year have abandoned its robot business for 12 years.
In recent years, however, Sony has worked to reverse that course. Last year, it invested in AIsoftware developer Cogitai.
The company has also admitted that its efforts have “lagged behind” other tech giants that have invested in AI, but added that there were still “unexplored areas.”
“We have a number of products in the physical world,” Sony executive Hiroaki Kitano had told ZDNet. “We make hardware. That’s our strength.”
The Aibo sold for a whopping $2,500 when it was first released, making it far less accessible to the average household. There is no word yet on how much the new version will cost.