TOKYO (01/25/2000) - Due to popular demand, Sony Corp. plans to sell more of its dog-like Aibo entertainment robots in Japan, Europe and North America, the company announced today.
Unlike the last two times when the company offered the product, there will be no limit on the number of robots on sale but Sony will limit when orders can be received. In Japan, orders will be accepted by Sony Communications Network Inc. from Feb. 15 to Feb. 25 for shipments beginning in April. In addition to accepting orders by telephone and Internet, Sony will also be accepting orders by mail.
The Aibo made headlines around the world in June 1999 when Sony sold a limited number of the devices. Hailed as the first robot produced for entertainment purposes, Sony offered 3,000 of the devices to customers in Japan and 2,000 to those in North America -- accepting orders via the Internet, they were sold out within minutes in Japan despite their price tag of around US$2,500.
The Aibo can react to its surroundings, recognize objects and play like a real dog. It also comes programmed to learn and will grow to become contented if the owner gives it the same type of attention that a real dog craves. [See "Sony Shows Off Artificially Intelligent Pet Robot," May 11, 1999]After the huge success of the sale in June, Sony put another batch on sale in November last year. That time it accepted all orders made within the sale period and then held a lottery for 10,000 of the robots. Again this failed to satisfy demand. The company received 135,000 orders for the limited number of pets available. In total, 132,000 orders came from Japan, 2,000 from North America and 1,000 from Europe.
The device will cost 250,000 yen in Japan, US$2,500 in North America and 2,400 euros in Europe. Orders will be accepted through the Sony Aibo homepage at http://www.world.sony.com/aibo/.
Sony, in Tokyo, can be reached at +81-3-5448-2200, or at http://www.sony.co.jp/.