SoftBank Corp. said Tuesday it probably won’t start selling the Pepper humanoid robot to general consumers until around this summer.
Pepper was originally scheduled to hit store shelves this month for ¥198,000, but “it looks like we’ll only be able to sell Pepper to developers in February. The decision is not finalized yet, but we are considering going with it,” SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told a news conference in Tokyo.
He explained that SoftBank received more orders than expected from developers when it held a conference for them last September.
The firm had intended to take only 200 advanced orders, but it received far more, SoftBank said.
SoftBank did not disclose the exact figure.
Given the situation, SoftBank felt it would be better for now to sell Pepper exclusively to developers, so they can come up with more application software by the time the robot is finally released to consumers, Son said.
“When will Pepper become available to general consumers? . . . It will probably be June or August or around that time,” he said.
Pepper is billed as the world’s first robot with emotions. It is equipped with an “emotion engine” that supposedly understands human emotions by reading facial expressions, body language and tone of voice.
The robot, unveiled last June, was designed by French robot maker Aldebaran Robotics SAS.