Amazon’s Astro robot is making its way to customers – here’s how buyers are using it
It’s probably a bad sign that we could only find two videos…
Early adopters who ordered Amazon’s Astro robot have started sharing videos of their robotic friends online. The robot launched as an Amazon Day 1 device, with invite-only availability, last October.
Maybe that exclusivity is why we can only find two people who bought one and posted videos online. Amazon sure hasn’t sold many of the $1,450 robots in the months since release. Maybe only a few hundred, according to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg.
Here’s one of the only videos of Astro in the wild we could find, from user Bob Rekieta on YouTube. Holding a beer can in his backpack, Astro is told to go “Find Celeste;” who is presumably in the den as that’s where the robot scurries off to.
The other video we could find is from Matthew Nereim. For his Astro robot, we have a little bit more context from him and his use of Astro, as Bloomberg interviewed him.
Matthew uses his expensive Astro robot as a novelty toy. Nereim likes to tease his dog with it; while controlling it via his smartphone.
It’s not all fun and games though. Nereim says Astro sometimes gets confused while looking for its charging base, and it genuinely gets flummoxed by stairs. It hasn’t tried to drive down the stairs yet, but maybe it’s just building up the courage to do so.
Serious talk here. If Astro was any good, even with low sales figures there should be thousands of videos online. You only have to look on YouTube for another robotic companion, Cozmo, to see tens of thousands of videos, including some dedicated channels.
Cozmo’s maker eventually went broke. Amazon has more money than most small countries; but is the Astro robot destined for the scrap heap? Amazon is already talking about future models, while it’s clear it sees the current Astro as a learning experience. Our take? Even at the $999 early order price, Astro is an overpriced toy.
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