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Monday, September 10, 2001
On Hardware

New Aibo for affluent families

AIBO, Sony’s robo-pet dog, has been joined by Latte and Macaron, the latest additions to Sony Electronic’s Aibo LM series of robotic pets.The new toys are the latest evolution of Sony’s original Aibo, which created a sensation and sold out in 20 minutes in Tokyo when it first went on sale at $4,381 apiece in 1999.

Ivory-coloured Latte and charcoal grey-coloured Macaron will also star in their own animated TV programme in Japan starting in October.

‘The idea is to expand the appeal to a broader demographic’, said Mr Stuart Wallock, director of marketing and business planning, of Sony’s Entertainment Robot America unit.

The new toys, equipped with artificial intelligence and digital cameras, will cost US$850 (S$1,490) per unit. With the help of additional software, the new toys can recognise more voice commands than the original Aibo.

The cuddly new robotic models - designed by famed Japanese commercial designer Katsura Moshino - can perform motion-detection photography on command when they are recharging on their battery stands and are loaded with Aibo Pal software, a Sony spokesman said.

The new toys are targetted at affluent families with tech-savvy kids, Mr Wallock said.