Well, it's late August already. Time for the toy companies to start rolling out all their latest goodies and 'must-haves' to start getting the Christmas holiday buying season momentum underway. According to an article posted on the popular Gizmag gadget website yesterday, WOWWEE Robotics is about to start deliveries of what should prove to be the most feature packed and shocking Robosapien robot yet.
Of course, many of the Robosapien RS Media features have been discussed at length over the past six months. But finally we have official confirmation that the new robot will ship with advanced capabilities including user switchable and modify-able personalities.
The Gizmag report states, and it may be quoting directly from a WOWWEE document, that the Robosapien RS Media will ship with four basic personalities preloaded. As you may recall, the personality of the original Robosapien was cloned from its creator Mark Tilden, and did a very close imitation of Tilden burping, making cat calls, dancing, and giving a high-5 (and a few body noises we can't mention directly in mixed company.)
The highly advanced (technologically if not socially) RS Media will come with a well behaved ServiceBot 3000 personality matched with "Billy Joe Sapien" which is probably close to the earlier Tilden clone only this time around it will be high on steroids or moonshine, in addition to two other undisclosed personalities.
If that doesn't shock you, then the fact that the RS Media personalities can also be edited and modified by owners using an application program that runs on their PC may. Watch out for even cruder, more extreme behavior from this household robot as soon as it hits the streets. The good news is that some of the creativity that will pour into making new personalities may be captured on video and shared online so that all of us can join in the fun.
It also turns out that the new robot is definitely on a power trip. It requires a total of 6 D cell plus 7 AAA cell batteries (batteries not included as usual.) With the previous Robosapiens this wasn't much of an issue since most owners got tired of playing with their robots after the initial novelty wore off - usually after an hour or two. But, the RS Media robot is also being promoted as a walking, talking, mobile Boom Box with a mind of its own. Keeping this thing operating will suck up a significant part of our weekly milk money.
And, the biggest shock of all - the suggested retail price for the robot when it is released to stores in Australia this coming October is quoted at AUS$799 (USD$610) - which is roughly six times the street price we paid for the original Robosapien just a couple of years ago.
We've always been big fans of the WOWWEE/Tilden creations, and have a Robosapien, Roboraptor, and Robopet to prove it. We'll definitely take a serious look at the RS Media as soon as it appears in stores near us. The positive features, like the ability to modify and store personalities, are extremely attractive, but are they enough to justify putting out six big ones to carry home a walking (waddling) music player with an attitude? It remains to be seen.