We have to admit up front that we've been a little harsh on UGOBE and Pleo the robot dinosaur in the past. Truth is that we really like the "product", even though we do have some concerns about how it has been managed and promoted. We would even buy one, if UGOBE and the local distributors here in Japan didn't insist on a roughly 50+% markup over the US price.
But, we're just a small, niche blog that has a limited, if dedicated, following. We're not the New York Times, nor can we write as well, and as pointedly, as David Pogue. Pogue, for those that don't already know him, is one of the world's top and most widely read technology reviewers and critics. He's even been invited to entertain and enlighten the attendees at the TED conferences.
In his hands-on review of the Pleo this week titled "Pleo the (Yawn) Dino-Robot. Next!", Pogue was loud and clear in voicing his, and his children's, opinions that the Pleo experience doesn't last more than half a hour, and that the company's hype for the robot is inflated by a thousand times.
While he does say that "... everyone should have the chance to play with a Pleo...", he then goes on to propose a new website scheme that would pass Pleo's from user to user at a fraction of the original purchase price - kind of a Pleo/NetFlix mash-up.
Perhaps it comes down to the fact that this type of toy/gadget/novelty isn't for everyone. It's not like a mp3 player, laptop computer, or cell phone.
Some people, like us, will be fascinated by Pleo, and will end up spending hours, days, weeks, or even years getting a lot of pleasure, excitement, surprise, and enjoyment out of it. For others, maybe the majority, Pleo will turn out to be a lot like the original Robosapien - a 'wow' gotta have it kind of toy for the moment and then spend the rest of its life on the shelf or in the dark bedroom closet corner.