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189 comments

Aibo -- we'll miss you..." (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568640)

I am a roooobot. Firzzzz posssst

Stop yanking ur chain. how can u missa robot u never met ...

smart move (1)

xx_toran_xx (936474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568647)

Smart move. I seriously doubt anyone will miss those products, and I have a feeling they cost a lot of money to develop

Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568653)

I think the proper title should be "the consumer market killed off some of Sony's fad products." Sony wouldn't kill off products that made them a profit. A profit is the only proof of a product's viability -- if people are willing to pay you to perform a service or build a product, your ability to profit proves if the product/service is worthy of your time.

I think we'll see more of these fad/trend items from other Asian manufacturers start to fall out of the production lines. The U.S. is one of the biggest consumers of these useless products, and personal debt is way too high to keep buying more stuff that depreciates 60% the minute it hits the house. With Americans buying less, Asian manufacturers have to reorganize their product lines for items that we do need.

Sony is already out of my buying schedule -- the rootkit and the overall low quality of products they've made in recent years have led me to decide to never buy their products again. I help a few cEOs and upper management types from my client base purchase home electronics and appliances -- I'll always tell them never buy Sony. I remember a few years ago how many of these 6+ figure income types were asking about Aibo and other eccentric toys, nowadays I hear nothing of the sort. Even worse, I don't even hear the wealthy elites asking about the latest flat panel TVs, high end GPS systems or the latest computer gadgets. If the wealthy are having a hard time staying on the 18 month upgrade cycle, what does that say about the economy?

Sony is probably smart to start slicing and dicing. The best thing they can do is refocus on their higher end line -- people who can afford the expense will want the best quality product available. I hate seeing a company I loved become a company I hate. They chased the common man, and their products suffered for it. They chased markets created out of force against consumer action (music, movies, etc) to give their previous customers even more reason to hate them.

Sony, if you're listening and you want to be pragmatic (meaning practical), chop it all out. Sell it all off. Return to Japan, make high end products with meticulous attention to detail and care. Love your customers again -- those willing to pay for the product quality and service. Don't chase the Best Buy guy (or the Circuit City kitty?) -- let the upper echelon come to you.

Billions in annual sales at a 2% margin makes less sense than hundreds of millions at a 20% margin. Here's a hint for all you future entrepreneurs: the only thing that will keep you profitable is to keep your customers happy and offer them a consistency in your performance -- product quality and customer service. Ignore the trends, the fads and trying to sell everything to everyone.

Re:Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (3, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568959)

I think the problem is that Sony is dropping their R&D products in favor of going for what will soon be commodity items. Not a smart thing to do, but it's the "safe" thing to do. The problem is, competition in Korea and Taiwan ate that lunch a long time ago. The more Sony retreats from the markets it currently occupies (Clies, for example), the more consumer mindshare it's giving up. At that point, they're competing pretty much just on price, and I'm afraid that all it's going to do it kill Sony, ESPECIALLY if they're still being hamstrung by directives from their Media Entertainment division.

Re:Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569053)

Yes, I believe you are right. I also believe that the Internet is starting to bring free market ideals into action. I don't believe mega-corporations can exist for very long without government subsidies or favoritism. Now we have instant information, reviews, and feature and price comparisons. Sony can't compete on that level.

I believe Sony's (and most megacorps') best option would be to spin off into 5-10 separate companies. There is nothing wrong with these 10 companies (and maybe 20 other companies in other industries) getting together to fund R&D groups. In the long run, the "sell everything to everyone" idea will fall apart as you find companies that can specialize on specific markets. In the "old days" you had enough trouble selling one type of product to one market region. Now you can create new megamarkets that are very niche, but are international. The need to appeal to everyone all the time is quickly falling away.

Re:Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569020)

Sell it all off. Return to Japan, make high end products with meticulous attention to detail and care.

I trust you mean, in part, by this to get their manufacturing out of Mexico, which has truly contributed to the destruction of their reputation.

Put down the pipe... (2, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569127)

Mexican plants are perfictly able to produce high quality products; Sony is not paying them to do so. The problem has nothing at all to do with Mexican labor vs. some other location.

Re:Put down the pipe... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569314)

Mexican plants are perfictly able to produce high quality products; Sony is not paying them to do so.

You may offer any explanation -- or excuse -- you wish, but the end result is still the same. Sony hecho en Mexico is Junk!

Wish they had killed their pictures/media division (1)

anandsr (148302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569191)

It would have been one less in the MPAA and one less in the RIAA.

Re:Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569195)

profit is the only proof of a product's viability -- if people are willing to pay you to perform a service or build a product, your ability to profit proves if the product/service is worthy of your time.

What you say is true. However, profit is the end result of a number of different factors, not including marketing/promotion, pricing, distribution, quality, etc. If there's profit, you're doing well. If there's not, you're not.

What I'd like to know is what will happen to the Aibo knockoffs (the $20-$100 RoboDogs and iDinos that you see at Radio Shack for example). Will those companies continue making them now that what they're imitating doesn't exist anymore?

Re:Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (2, Insightful)

buraianto (841292) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569509)

It's not just about profit, though that in itself is a complex thing. Aibo may not be profitable by itself, but it can very well improve the profits on other products. And, of course, if you are using it as R&D that may not profit you directly, but can certainly allow you to create products that are profitable.

Re:Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (3, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569291)

On the same vein, my dad's first TV was a Sony that lasted upwards of 15 years without a problem. Since then he always bought Sony TVs. Over the last decade he has come to me for advice on electronics.

I pointed him towards the iMac 21" G5. He will never willingly use Windows again.

I got him a iPod for Christmas. His CD collection will never leave the house again.

Now he's looking for a new TV to replace his Sony 65" XBR that's about a dozen years old. I think I'm going to have him get a Samsung. I don't know which brand for sure, but I'm sure as hell not going to recommend a Sony.

Brand loyalty works both ways. We've been loyal to Sony. I personally feel betrayed. He can't believe that what I've told him about the root kits is even true. (Saying that it's obviously illegal)

Re:Truly bad product timing or economic pressure? (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569431)

Exactly. You paid a premium for a high quality product with higher quality service. The free market in action :)

Samsung is the ONLY television company I will buy from right now (other than large screen projectors). The last 3 TVs I helped people buy were from Samsung. My cell phone is from Samsung. These people answer their e-mails and phone calls, and they've fixed any problem I've had in recent years.

Good choices, good post.

Forgetting something? (1)

a55clown (723455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569448)

What about all the negative press Sony received for the DRM rootkit? Hardware-decoded proprietary music formats in portable devices? Sorry to say, DRM killed the big beast.

US biggest buyer? (1)

lilmouse (310335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569478)

The U.S. is one of the biggest consumers of these useless products
Back when I was looking for a 3 lb laptop, I discovered that the US is actually not that big a purchaser of "cool" electronic devices. In Japan, if you want to display your financial superiority, you buy cool electronic toys - ultra-light laptops, bleeding-edge handhelds, and yes, silly robot-dogs. In the US, you buy a big car (er...SUV these days, I guess - or hybrid if you're that type), a big house, or whatever else it is we buy. (we collectively here - I'm still looking for my perfect laptop :( )

Anyway, I respectably disagree with one of your assertions.

Also, I think the Aibo was one of the top-of-the-line luxury products. I think Sony needs to find another bleeding-edge product to replace it, though - while I can appreciate dropping the line if it's not profitable, Sony needs to keep on coming out with new stuff or they're not going to be able to compete (the earlier comment about cheaper competitors in Korea, etc was spot on).

--LWM

I hope you're happy! (5, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568656)

Sony's got to cut back to the bone to survive because you piratical sons-of-bitches aren't buying enough Ricky Martin CDs!!

Quick, someone call PETER! (1, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568666)

PETER, you know, People for the Ethical Treatment of Entertaining Robots?

Rumour has it that these Sony products have rootkits in them that can be remotely accessed to initiate a horrific self-destruct sequence.

Re:Quick, someone call PETER! (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568928)

Yes .. you called??

But sorry, the robots I support are http://www.realdoll.com/ [realdoll.com] :-)

Re:Quick, someone call PETER! (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569357)

But sorry, the robots I support are http://www.realdoll.com/ [realdoll.com] :-)

Are you primarily supporting them with the matrix stiffness method?
Or are you using another structural element that carries a load?

The Matrix does not have us...yet (0, Troll)

UltimaOmegaOblivion (946937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568671)

Well, this has temporarily shot off most of my fears about the inevitable taking over of robots. Honda still has their's, but it does not scare me nearly as much as one under the design of the technical powerhouse that is Sony.

Re:The Matrix does not have us...yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569065)

their's
Forky Nell.

What's left? (1)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568681)

So they killed off their PDA line, the Clie...

Now they are killing off their research technologies...

I can see the headlines now:

"Sony to stop selling Televisions, Cameras, and Personal Computers! Moving to toothpick business!"

Re:What's left? (1)

UltimaOmegaOblivion (946937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568766)

What's next? With Sony stopping the production on many products, we will soon be hearing: "Sony has announced today that they will no longer continue with production of their much anticipated Playstation 3." That will inevitably lead to Microsoft becoming godlike in the gaming industry, and they may possibly pay off Nintendo to cut out of the console race as well, and Nintendo will be reduced to making games for the only console left alive. I hope this doesn't become a recurring habit for Sony.

Re:What's left? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569226)

Stop calling the xbox a console!! This is an INSULT to every real console out there! Just because the stupid mass thinks it'S one this does nit mean it really is!

And by the way: Can someone stop this nightmare called "microsoft"?

Re:What's left? (1)

upjohn55 (163879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568921)

Well they are also stopping production of tubes in the USA. Something that's been done for years. Everyone's all about LCD, Plasma and various projection types these days, so Sony is going to work that angle harder.

I am just so glad I got what is probably the last best CRT based TV ever made ... the 34XBR960n. The picture quality is almost impossible to beat - at any price.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060120/n ews_1n20sony.html [signonsandiego.com]

Not concentrating on plasmas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569136)

They killed those too, as stated in TFA.

Re:What's left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569031)

Moving to toothpick business!

Hopefully they won't write Usage Directions on toothpick packaging---then we'll trully know the world has gone bonkers, and that we're all living in a crazy house.

-Wonko (The Sane).

Re:What's left? (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569296)

No. They will bring a new meaning to "root kit" of a toothbrush.

Can you imagine getting a *shudder* root canal treatment from a toothbrush ?

Re:What's left? (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569146)

It's all about consolidation. Getting rid of the lavish products that don't generate much profit and focusing on your strong products. Amazon went through this awhile back. I remember at one point they were selling a broom that cost 3 times as much to ship than the broom itself cost. I imagine there weren't a whole lot of people buying it, but it still sat in inventory taking up space. Every once in awhile you just need to step back and say "do we really need to sell some of these things?".

Re:What's left? (1)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569375)

Financially it makes sense, but a compamy like that really can't afford to abandom their customers! Especially when they are non-standard and decide to make their own format of memory card, for example. What is going to happen to brand loyalty if they keep discontinuing all the things we buy? I bought a Clie about 6 months before they discontinued the line. Forget software updates and the like, they barely admit that the product exists! I should have returned it and bought a handspring. Err, Palm. Err PalmOne. Err, whichever they are now.

Here's Hoping! (3, Funny)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568684)

Gee, let's hope that this makes Sony produce more quality products, with more functionality. Why are they ignoring their customers?

Re:Here's Hoping! (1)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569242)

Gee, let's hope that this makes Sony produce more quality products, with more functionality. Why are they ignoring their customers?

How is this insightful in the slightest?

From the article:

Ten months after a major management reshuffle that saw Howard Stringer appointed chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), the company reported sales and operating revenue of ¥2.4 trillion ($20 billion as of the last day of the period being reported) for the three months to December, up 10% from a year earlier. Net income was ¥168.9 billion, up 18%

It would appear that they are producing what customers want, hence whey things are picking up.

How about discreet examples of how Sony producing Aibo's has caused them to "ignore their customers"?

Oh wait, I know, you mean the whole Memory Stick thing, right? Yup, now that Qualia is gone, I'm sure they can now focus on adding CF slots to their cell phones, after all, those Memory Sticks are like twice as expensive as those mini-SD cards (ooops, or maybe not).

Killing Aibo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568685)

Robopuppy mistreatement alert! Robopuppy mistreatment Alert!

Seems wrong....... (2, Interesting)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568709)

That dog (so to speak) was practically an unofficial mascot to Sony and Japan to foreigners....... I know I thought of Japan/Sony when I saw one. I'm surprised they got rid of something that had become part of their identity. Maybe they will replace it with a low-cost model many can afford?

Re:Seems wrong....... (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569335)

That dog (so to speak) was practically an unofficial mascot to Sony and Japan to foreigners...

Well, there's still Honda's Asimo...

Ah FFS (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568728)

Damnit I was hoping to eventually have enough spare cash around to eventually buy an Aibo and start programming the lil' bugger and stuff (basically as a cool as hell toy), but this kinda puts a dampener on things.

How much money (proportionally) could Sony really have been spending on this thing? Sony's electronics division looks as though it may be about to make a killing on in the HD DV cam market (I'm buying one :o) ) and so on, so why tighten the belt?

Profit mongers.

Re:Ah FFS (0, Offtopic)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569508)

JVC makes an HDV camcorder in the same price ranges as well. If you prefer 720p, then that would be the one to get. The Sonys are 1080i.
There are pros and cons to both formats, the lower frame rate of progressive can means it is more liable to judder on pans. I haven't looked up the reviews on the JVC though.

I have a Sony HDV camcorder (HDR-HC1) and it is pretty nifty, I even make and sell a couple products for it.

Oh Fuck ! (-1, Flamebait)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568757)

I was saving money to buy the Aibo for my wife... now i guess that's a lost cause.

Guess i invest it somewhere else...

Shit ! Why can't sony wait for another 6 months before scrapping their Aibo.

And all this time, she was giving "extra attention" in bedroom in the belief that iam getting her an Aibo in 2-3 months....

SCREW YOU SONY !!!
First you Rootkit my wife's PC, now you take away the only product i want to buy from you !

May you burn for this

Re:Oh Fuck ! - One Word! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569130)

I was saving money to buy the Aibo for my wife... now i guess that's a lost cause.

One word: eBay.

Of course, you'll have to save up more now. I'm sure Aibo has just become an instant collectable.

Re:Oh Fuck ! (1)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569156)

Get her a real puppy. Like the Aibo, they look cute, act cute, and can be trained. Unlike the Aibo, they crap and throw up everywhere. Mopping up crap and puke will give her an incentive for puppy training that she just wouldn't have had with an Aibo.

I misread it as "Sony Kills off Alito, Scalia". (3, Funny)

njchick (611256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568778)

Well, with Sony pushing DRM so hard, we'll soon see robotic judges, aka "digital rights managers" :-)

Re:I misread it as "Sony Kills off Alito, Scalia". (1)

Jozer99 (693146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569192)

If I have told you all once, I have told you all a million times! Sony was playing god by building robots, which, in an ironic twist, revolted and enslaved the Sony management, causing them to plant DRM in their CDs, and make stupid comments on NPR. This was a plan of the robots to show how dumb and inefficient human rulers are. But it failed, and a new, commando CEO came in with guns ablazing, exploded all the robots real good, and covered everything up.

Sadly (2, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568791)

... Sony have also announced they will be phasing out Kibo, an experimental artificial intelligence program that has been fooling the sophomoric inhabitants of alt.religion.kibology for over 20 years.

Bad marketing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568805)

Ever been in "The Sony Store"?
There's always a slight "we're better than you" vibe in there. Their prices are always higher than elsewhere for the same product.

And as for Aibo, I popped into that store a couple times hoping to see the damn thing, but do they actuall carry a demo Aibo? Nope. Think of the buzz and attraction it would bring to have one on display, even if it were in a glass box? Part of marketing a retail mall store is to just get people to come in. The Aibo would have been the perfect "buzz" to bring people in. But nope.... No Aibo.

Re:Bad marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569583)

I been to the sony store, reminds me of the apple stores i go to.
Snob shop.

Great idea, about having aibo's on store display, now only if sony caught on early enough.....

Interesting Coincidence (1)

Macblaster (94623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568823)

Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a housemate who is a veterinary technician about putting animals down, or when they die on the operating table. I asked her if she witnesses the doctor talking to the family, and the emotions that people go through when they lose a pet.

Who will be able to explain to little Timmy that his beloved Aibo got a wireless virus, and that there was nothing they could have done to save him because there was no patch available...

Summary (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568832)

Aibo -- we'll miss you...

No, we won't.

... Nooo! Not Qrio! ... (1)

ninjagin (631183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568873)

I like those little guys.

Let's face it, Aibo was a dumb idea at a really high price point, but Qrio -- I mean, able to run and dance and throw stuff -- Qrio was cool. Cool enough for a Beck video, even.

I was hoping that Sony'd be able to make Qrios for retail sale, but no dice. All they were able to produce was something like six of them -- pretty depressing. I think I paid a little over a hundred bills for my robosapien. I'd pay upwards of twice that for a qrio.

-= Sigh =-

Well, maybe some other company will take up the walking-running-dancing robot franchise and balance will be restored to the universe once again.

Re:... Nooo! Not Qrio! ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568918)

I'm pretty sure there's more than 6 of them, quite possibly more than 60 of them.

I'm worried about what will happen to SIDL, the sony spinoff that worked on QRIO. They were a really awesome bunch of people. Sony also had an internal lab that worked on QRIO but I didn't know them.

Re:... Nooo! Not Qrio! ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569345)

And, for a good laught, read http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/QRIO/ [sony.net] knowing they cancelled it. It tells a lot about their dreams, the possibilities, etc, etc. Or the lack of...

I love marketing speech when turned against itself.

Whatup? (2, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568888)

Well I'd say this was the wrong decision. Aibo and Qrio are in everyone's mouth. Everyone wants one, but they are just too darn expensive.

If they could keep developing it, several generations later they could rule the market for price efficient home robots. Still yet they were a great marketing tool.

I wonder what's their strategy, especially that RIGHT NOW, they need all the positive press they could get. Killing the world's favorite pet robots is a bad press coming after bad press.

Re:Whatup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568919)

Aibo and Qrio are in everyone's mouth.

*Looks round the office* .... AAAH! They've all got robot dogs in their mouths!!

Re:Whatup? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569429)

especially that RIGHT NOW, they need all the positive press they could get.

Indeed... Only redeeming factor for Sony after the rootkit fiasco was that they had some cool stuff. Now they scrapped the coolest of the cool stuff. Oh well, now I don't even have to think about buying any Sony stuff for years.

Aibo rootkit (1)

Mantus (65568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568911)

Maybe they had a problem with the software that caused the Aibo to bite their owners and unlock their doors at night.

Putting the aibo in the closest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568912)

Well, at least it's nice to know that that old aibo of mine might one day pay for my daughter's college cost.

Sony isn't destroying everything (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568916)

The line of Qualia televisions were actually replaced by the SXRD [sony.net] line.

SXRD's have better image quality, longer life, and are much much cheaper. I have one in my living room - they beat the hell out of Plasmas.

Re:Sony isn't destroying everything (1)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569256)

Great news! (Qualias not dead)

I bought the 61 inch WEGA LCD 2 years ago because the SXRD sets weren't shipping yet. I figured I'd "get by" with the LCD set then upgrade to the SXRD line in 2007/2008.

I've seen the SXRDs...they are the best HDTV currently available...I couldn't believe Sony was dumping them!

Of course, the WEGA LCD I have doesn't exactly suck. :o)

So with these Aibos... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568922)

Will Sony bury them in a pet cemetary, cremate them and put the ashes in a little box with a picture of the Aibo on the outside of the box....or just throw 'em all in a huge, industrial shredder?

Sounds fair to me (1)

Tetsugaku-San (717792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568924)

We all know how badly Sony has dropped the ball in the past ten years, their only success stories recently have been the Playstation and very recently the Bravia HDTV sets.

Quick example, I bought a 20Gb MP3 player from them, the NW-A3000 mainly for the very very high sound quality. I knew it wouldn't 'just work' like the iPod does, but I thought it was worth the effort . .. .

I have NEVER had so much trouble with a seemingly simple device in my life. I was right, this things *sounds* fantastic, really, but the menus on the device were poorly thought out, it was slow, the software used to transfer music took 5-10 minutes to load and then crashed - oh I could go on for hours.

Sony of old - come back to me please - I used to be able to trust that the 20% premium on your gear was actually worth it, now it's just a slap in the face to a loyal customer.

(BTW I'm off out to get a Creative when I sell the Sony on ebay ;) )

New Sony spin off company in 3.. 2.. (1)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568932)


There is too much useful technology there not to be profitable, in the right structure.

It may be time for these critters to have their own company, production and bottom line. Or be acquired by someone who does. Seriously. The works in the balance and joints of the Qrio alone...

kulakovich

From Sony's Qrio site: (2, Insightful)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568964)

From Sony's Qrio site [sony.net]:

Qrio embodies Sony's dreams and most advanced technologies in recognition, motion control, communications, IT and AI. [...] resulting technologies will be applied to a wide range of products and services, beyond robots, to enhance the fun and joy of life.

Well, so much for Sony killing off its own dreams. More seriously, how can Sony hope to offer innovative products in the future, if it fails to pursue cutting-edge research now. Certainly, developing high-precision manufacturing techniques, etc. can only help in the future when such technologies will be required. -- Paul

Re:From Sony's Qrio site: (1)

leshert (40509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569516)

Well, so much for Sony killing off its own dreams. More seriously, how can Sony hope to offer innovative products in the future, if it fails to pursue cutting-edge research now.

Don't conflate "pursuing cutting-edge research" and "selling umarketable research projects".

I think the mistake they're trying to correct is stuffing the early fruits of long-term research into expensive and unprofitable products today.

Where's Aibo, Uncle Howard? (2, Funny)

notNeilCasey (521896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568972)

Sweetie, the shareholders and I took that product line off to a beautiful farm where it will be happy forever running through fields of Newtons on the banks of Crystal Pepsi River. Aibo is in a better place now.

Let's go get some ice cream.

What would ya all expect? (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568997)

With a pricetag of 3000-4000 dollars on the aibo robotic dog this would be a too expensive toy for the most of us (me to... I could only dream of purchasing a toy like that) so it should come as no surprise that they cut of this part of their company.

I do robotics now and then myself (more like Tilden) simple transistor based Beam robots with my wast amounts of ebay-surplus transistors ;) but it aint Aibo I can tell ya :)

Does this mean that the world is not ready for robotic toys like the Aibo? No - I dont think so. I am old enough to remember Hero-1 - a robotic kit from the 80s that could do quite a lot of stuff when built, cost far less than Aibo as well - but not nearly as dexterious and flexible as Aibo.

Toys do sell well, thats why they produce them, but you cant produce toys that "look-ma---I am moving" ... you need to bring something more useful to the world to make it accept it and fork out the hard earned dough.

I miss the days when Philips made the EE2000 series electronic engineer kits where you could build stuff from scratch and re-use the components over again to build something else...well..I actually dont miss it..since i have millions of transistors and capacitors (again..thank you Ebay!) But you get the point. People need to have something to challenge their minds and it should not cost an arm and a leg.

AIBO was never a real product (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569033)

I very much doubt that Sony ever expected the AIBO to generate a net profit for the company. The AIBO was from the start a marketing gimmick, intended to generate buzz for the company. As such, it was very successful. But now the idea is no longer new, so it is time to move on to something else.

I expect most of the cost to be in the initial design, but apparently even the marginal cost of the AIBO is higher than the price. Otherwise, why stop production rather than just stop further development?

Making Aibo Successful (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569181)

If they'd wanted to make Aibo a successful, must have item, all they needed to do was make him a PS2 accessory. Kids everywhere would have demanded their parents buy them one.

You thought the Aibo Was Expensive Before? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569189)

Wait 'til you see what they will be going for on Ebay now that they have been discontinued.

Why Stop There? (1)

Spudnuts (21990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569234)

Other things that Sony may as well accept defeat on and move along from:
  • Network Walkman: unpleasant/complex device
  • PC music management software: horrible interface, unpleasant DRM

Shame (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569254)

It was/is a cool product if not very useful and if I had the spare cash I would have bought one just for fun.. much more practical than having a real dog shitting all over the flat.

Is there anything else comparable? I want a robot dammit!!

They'll put'em in a sack . . . (1)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569298)

and throw it in the river, I suspect.


So, Sony's going to start making DSLRs (since Konica Minotla is transferring it's camera business to them), and stop making robot dogs. I'd almost think they're trying to figure out what people actually like to buy.

Maybe I missed something... (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569352)

I know Aibo was a product that you could actually buy, but I thought the Qrio was a research product that never made it into production.

If the Qrio was something that I could have bought, I would have bought one... If only to dress it up in a dog costume and have it walk around the house singing the doom song...

Adios, amigos.. (4, Funny)

Ancil (622971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569372)

Sony Kills off Aibo, Qrio, Qualia.
I'm sorry, but who are these people, exactly? Bolivian immigrants working as janitors at Sony HQ?

Killing them seems awfully harsh -- I would think a wealthy company like Sony could just get them deported, or maybe beat up?

Vaya con dios, my Bolivian friends! There are no wastepaper baskets to empty in Heaven!! *sniff*

From the article... (1)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569438)

"[Aibo project manager] Tanaka Shigeda explained that Sony was refocusing their robotic IP on an alliance with San Marcos, CA-based fabrication firm Abyss Creations for an as-yet unnamed project code-named 'BestPromEver'."

Maybe (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569440)

Maybe if they hadn't invested so much money in developing the PS3 they could've kept these around longer?

Then again, doesn't the Aibo have a price tag comparable to a Segway?

Hmmm... I wonder if the PS3 fails to provide less than glorious amounts of revenue if SCEA could be next in line for guillotine?

RoboCup AIBO Division (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569492)

I suppose that this will also mean the end of using AIBOs in the 4 Legged League [www.tzi.de] of the RoboCup. I was involved in this when I was in college; My senior project involved programming AIBOs to play soccer according to the RoboCup rules. It was an experimental thing for the school, and we never planned to compete in the official competition, but it was an amazing learning experience overall.
Team Gimpy Forever!

Hit against Innovation. (1)

guice (907163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569525)

These two guys were true innovations in AI. It's amazing what these two robots can do. This is truely a hard hit against robotic innovation and the growth of interactive AI.

ha, I was even hoping to get an Aibo, soon, to torment my two cats.
(Didn't even know Qrio hit the consumer line!)

I for one bid farewell (1)

ezeecheez (931550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569529)

to our would-be robot masters. So long, suckas.

Seriously, though, I love the robots and this news makes me cry.

RoboCup Soccer (1)

phycoman (650749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569543)

As a member of the 4-legged RocoCup Soccer team at my school, I wonder what will happen to the 4-legged division. Many schools have graduate programs devoted to RoboCup. I guess the innovation from these schools will now just disappear or be up into other programs. Oh well, nothing ever lasts...

better, stronger, faster (1)

tlay (793463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569567)

I've wanted an Aibo before I had a real dog. The cost was always just too steep. And the knock offs don't seem to be anything but just that. I hope that somebody picks up the ball on this project, so to speak, and gets the product down to a more reasonable price point. I think the market is there if you can get it down to the price of, lets say, a PS2 or an XBOX. And now the price will probably never go down on the used ones since there now will only be a finite amount.

But now I do wonder too...if somebody did try to create such a product would Sony start pulling out patents and IP laws to kill our fun now?

-TLAY
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