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Sony to launch revamped Aibo robot dog in U.S.

JIJI, Staff Report

Sony Corp. plans to start selling its revamped Aibo robot dog in the United States from September following its domestic revival in January.

Sony, which regards the new Aibo as symbolizing the revival of its innovative spirit, aims to use the product to raise its presence in overseas markets. The original Aibo was launched in 1999 and terminated in 2006.

Improved with advanced artificial intelligence and communications functions, the second-generation Aibo develops a unique character depending on how its owners interact with it.

The U.S. version only recognizes English and will be priced at $2,899, including a three-year data fee.

In Japan, Aibo shipments have reached 20,000 units over the roughly six months since the relaunch.

“The Aibo has been received very well in Japan. We want to keep the momentum when selling it in the United States,” Senior Vice President Izumi Kawanishi told a news conference Thursday in New York.

The tech industry is becoming more keen on AI and robots. SoftBank Group Corp. has developed a service robot called Pepper, while Sharp Corp. has produced the chatty Robohon robot phone.

With the revival of Aibo, which is viewed as Sony’s signature robot product, the electronics giant also appears to be sending the message that it is ready to compete in a market that is likely to grow and that still has what it takes to make exciting products, analysts say.