Bosch Kills Off Key Product Days Out From Launch
Touted at trade shows as a must have and only weeks away from being launched, Kuri the Bosch robot has been sent to the nackers yard with the big European appliance maker claiming that Kuri is “not fit for business”.
A home robot that had fast gained a high-profile Bosch executives claimed that the device was ideal to play with children, respond to voice commands and patrol properties while filming videos and taking photos.
“We are crushed to let you know that effective today, Mayfield Robotics will pause operations as we evaluate the company’s path forward,” Bosch’s subsidiary said in a blog.
Its control app was released last month ahead of its anticipated launch, but its maker said parent company Bosch had decided to axe the project.
Those who paid nearly $2,000 to pre-order the machines will be refunded.
Kuri first appeared at CES last year, Bosch claimed back in 2017 that it would “begin shipping” later that year.
A limited number of devices were delivered to US buyers in December.
Although it has now halted the project, the business added: “We stand firm in our belief that the home robot renaissance is just beginning – and it’s going to be amazing.”
Other home robots have managed to make it into consumers’ hands over the past year, including Jibo, Keecker, Lynx and a new version of Sony’s robo-pet Aibo – but reviews have criticised their limited capabilities and significant price tags.
“We’re in the stone age of the home robot market,” said Ben Wood, from the tech consultancy CCS Insight.
“Lots of companies are trying to crack a very tough technology challenge.
“They want to have skin in the game in case the opportunity comes to fruition.
“But it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it’s still a bit early to deliver against consumers’ expectations.”
Despite this, several big-name brands are working on further home robots.
LG continues to develop Cloi – a robot designed to help users control smart home appliances, which turns to face its owner’s voice but does not otherwise move.
A prototype, however, made a disastrous debut at this year’s CES, where it repeatedly failed to respond to commands, and the South Korean company has missed its original target of making the machine available in June.