Amazon’s boss says the house astro robotic began out as a safety system and “covers much more”

Dave Limp of Amazon, who heads the e-retailer’s hardware division, said the company’s leap into home robots this week began with an emphasis on safety and then evolved into a product that also delivers a drink or one Can answer video call.

“We wrote a document in which we thought customers would particularly like the safety aspects of a home robot,” said Limp Jon Fortt of CNBC in an interview that aired on TechCheck on Friday. “Since then it has evolved to cover a much larger area, but that was the original idea.”

Amazon has developed a number of hardware devices over the years, from its early Kindle e-readers to modern tablets, voice-activated smart speakers, and a smart TV. But his newest device, an Alexa-powered robot called the Astro, is possibly the most ambitious yet.

Amazon unveiled Astro on Tuesday at its annual hardware event. The company began experimenting with robots in its own warehouses before eventually developing a consumer product. Limp said Amazon has spent the past four years working on the device.

Astro is packed with sensors that allow it to smoothly navigate around the house and around objects. It includes two Qualcomm chips that support features like visual ID that make it possible to recognize one user from the other. Astro can autonomously patrol your home, answer commands and provide reminders.

While Amazon has typically targeted the frugal with its lower-cost Echo speakers and TV streaming sticks, the Astro starts at $ 1,000 for users who receive an invitation to Early Access and costs $ 1,500 for those who buy it at startup.

“We still find that some of our highest volume products are the ones that cost around $ 50,” Limp said. “Besides that, some of these brands have been around for a while and customers are asking us to add more features.”

Recent upgrades in smart home technology like sensors and processors allowed Amazon to consider introducing an Alexa-powered robot, Limp added.

“We were excited about the combination of that kind, well we should start with it,” he said.

Amazon still relies on e-commerce, cloud computing, and now advertising for the majority of its revenue, and it’s not breaking out on device sales. The company generally views devices as a way to get consumers to use other services like Prime Shipping or streaming music and video.

SEE: Amazon introduces Astro, the robot

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