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Sony’s Aibo Robotic Dog Is Back, With Some New Tricks – Bloomberg

Sony Corp. is bringing back its iconic robotic dog, aibo.

The new version (which Sony is marketing as “aibo” instead of the prior “AIBO”) comes equipped with a powerful computer chip, OLED displays for eyes and the ability to connect to mobile networks. Like its predecessor, the new pet toy responds to voice commands and can bark, sit and wag its tail. It’s small enough to be picked up and has rounder edges. Pre-orders for the Japan-only 198,000 yen ($1,740) gadget begin Wednesday, with shipments starting Jan. 11.

The AI-enabled canine is another sign of Sony’s willingness to take new risks. After a deep restructuring that gutted its workforce and product lineup, the electronics maker now expects to report its highest-ever operating profit this year. Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai, who has been working on turning the Tokyo-based company around since 2012, has encouraged engineers and marketers to come up with new ideas, from digital aroma dispensers and self-flying drones, to 3-D sensors that can see the world.

“Sony’s mission, and reason for existence, is to be a company that piques people’s curiosity,” Hirai said at a press conference in Tokyo. “I’m convinced that a robot that can connect with a family, and give them a joy, is an embodiment of Sony’s mission, and therefore asked for the development of aibo a year and a half ago.”

Sony’s Aibo Robotic Dog Is Back, With Some New Tricks – Bloomberg

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