Robot Not a Dev? Buy Now
Not a Dev?

Misty Community Forum

An Amazon home robot?

hmmm, I don’t want to hate on Amazon or Lab126 but I would prefer they don’t flood the market with cheap wheels for Alexa and call it a home robot. They do have a large robotics division at Amazon already though.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-23/amazon-is-said-to-be-working-on-another-big-bet-home-robots

3 Likes

This was an interesting news item. I am a fan of the Echo line and own several models, but I agree, the idea of a mobile Echo doesn’t really excite me.

It’s interesting to me that iRobot stock took such a hit on this news. iRobot at its core is a consumer robotics company (esp since they unloaded the military side), Amazon is not. I don’t think anyone expects Amazon to focus on robots to drive its top line; I think people expect to see more robots from Amazon that support the core business of Amazon: retail sales.
So should we really expect Amazon to invest heavily in robots that can really help consumers (people at home) with mundane tasks that have nothing do with shopping? Maybe they’re counting on some connection in those cases (Echo washing windows: Hey, Gloria…almost out of Windex, I’ll stock up, ok?).

Will be fun to watch in any case.

1 Like

I think this is super good news for the robotics industry. Consumers need to come around to the idea of robots in their homes. Amazon spending money to promote this idea is good. Once consumer awareness and acceptance has grown sufficiently, Misty will be there with an advanced, tested robot that provides real value.

2 Likes

I agree with Ben. The press leak that Amazon may come out with a home robot can only be good news for the industry for many reasons - awareness from consumers, validation that robots in the home (and office?) are not a high risk bet, driving cheaper components (especially motors) and increasing capital investment appetite. It will be interesting to see whether a) they actually release something and b) whether it will go beyond “Alexa on wheels”.

Here’s an interesting article from IEEE on the subject. They speculate that it’ll be hard for Amazon to hit the sub-$1K barrier, but I’d be surprised if they did NOT. My hunch is that the business decision makers at Amazon would evaluate the number of units they could sell for >$1K to be far lower than something “substantially less expensive”. Which either begs the question of: what would they sacrifice to get to, say, a $499 price point OR how would they subsidize it? My money would be on the subsidy route - if, for example, you buy more than $X with your Prime membership, you get the robot for $499; otherwise it’s $1,299. I also think they’ll make decisions that lower the power/capability of the robot in order to make it “more affordable”. And, they’ll use their considerable size to drive powerful economies of scale and advanced computing.

2 Likes

@tenwall, I agree with you on the price…I don’t see Amazon selling a consumer robot for more than $1K (if Apple gets in the game, I’m sure they will…). As far as your questions around what they might sacrifice, do you imagine that Amazon is probably saying/figuring: for every robot we can sell for $x, let’s anticipate that we generate an additional $y in sales profit (not revenue) due to the sale of that robot (because it helped the consumer channel sales to Amazon), so let’s compare the cost of that robot to $x + $y to work on a price point… ?
They are probably using current Echo data to help figure out what this extra contribution might be.

1 Like

I would guess you’re absolutely right. It’s very similar to the AppleTV – which is probably sold at a loss because they’ve done a lifetime value calculation on the amount of additional content revenue they get from “the vehicle”. Definitely one of the advantages to being Goliath is one gets to leverage all appendages (of the business) whereas David may only have a slingshot… :0)

2 Likes