Pleo Falls Into Trap in Japan

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Well, unfortunately it looks like we won't be getting a Pleo anytime soon, at least not here in Japan. If we really want one we'll have to buy it in the US during one of our trips and bring it back with us. Ugobe, the developers of the fascinating robot dinosaur have apparently fallen into the same trap that other foreign manufacturers have in the past, which is unfortunate.

Pleo will be introduced in Japan with pre-orders being accepted by Business Design Laboratory starting December 1st. But, the list price will be 52,500 yen (almost 500 dollars)! Business Design Laboratory sells other robot products at a premium, like the $4,000+ Hello Kitty robot, the ifBot that sells for close to $6,000, and Nuvo at well over $5,000. None of these products appear to be setting any sales records.

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Pleo's Finally Taking His First Steps – Kind Of…

Thanks to a timely heads-up from Robert at RobotsRule.com, we found out that the long awaited Pleo robot dinosaur is finally taking his first baby steps. And, like most babies that are trying to learn how to walk under their own power, Pleo seems to be taking one step forward, one step back, and a little shuffle to the side here and there.

Other than the clear and very positive news that Pleo is finally in production, the latest UGOBE status announcement seems to be a real mixed bag.

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Is Pleo A Turtle? (Video)

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David Calkins, the guiding spirit behind RoboGames and an avid AIBO fan-atic, recently introduced Pleo to the September SAAG (Sacramento Area Aibo Gathering) meeting, and from the comments, and actions, on the video below, they were really impressed.

The video (see below) includes five minutes extracted from the 15 minutes or so they had to play with Pleo. As you might expect, Aibo users have a lot of experience with small AI-type animal robots, and asked a lot of interesting questions, including some that would never have occurred to us. For example, like a turtle, Pleo can't get up by himself if he ends up getting turned over. Our most important impression from the session was that people think he's incredibly cute and can't seem to keep from constantly petting it.

No more 'spoilers'. We'll let you check out the video for more insights into the worlds first infant robot dinosaur. 

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Pleo Release Date Pushed Back Due to Battery Issues

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UGOBE announced a few minutes ago that shipments of the long awaited Pleo robotic  dinosaur have been pushed back due to a change in their battery strategy. Originally the robot was to carry a single battery pack on board, and would go to its 'food bowl' to recharge when necessary. Now, because of problems that were uncovered during the "pre-production testing", UGOBE is switching gears to implement multiple rechargable battery packs - presumably that the owner/parent will have to change manually. Here's an excerpt from their email:

"During pre-production testing, the UGOBE? team encountered some significant problems with Pleo's battery life. We solved these problems in a way that I think you will appreciate: all Pleos, including First Hatch Pleos, are now designed to have an easily removable battery and an external charger for the battery. That means that with multiple batteries and chargers, you can keep Pleo going for hours on end. However, implementing this design change will delay production. We are working hard to make sure everyone who has ordered a Pleo will receive one by the holidays."

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Pleo – What's Behind, and What's Inside the Dinosaur Robot (Video)

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There's no doubt about it. Pleo, the robotic dinosaur from UGOBE, is an amazing creation. It's movements, actions, and reactions, are surprisingly realistic and lifelike - when it has its skin on.

It's August already, and the ramp-up for the holiday buying season is already well underway. Manufacturers are racing to get their products into the supply chain so that they can fill the shelves at WalMart, Target, and all the other major retailers as customers begin their annual Christmas buying spree. For most manufacturers, especially those in the toy end of the market, the holidays are a do or die proposition. That appears to be especially true for Pleo.

To prime the pump and get the 'Pleo Buzz' going, UGOBE has been sending out a series of newsletters and posting new videos (see below) about Pleo online every two weeks. Their latest newsletter was titled "Sneak Peek into Pleo" and provided an interesting look behind the UGOBE curtain.

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RoboGames 2007: Stealth Appearance by the Pleo Robot (Video)

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We're not sure why they did it, but the UGOBE folks brought the new Pleo dinosaur robot to RoboGames 2007 in San Francisco this June. They were there on Friday, the first day that the event was open to the public, but then disappeared completely a day later. We suspect it was an exercise in test marketing to see what kind of reaction the robot drew.

Anyway, we're not complaining since it did give us the opportunity to see - and even touch - what is sure to become one of the top selling robot toys/gadgets for Christmas 2007.

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Ugobe Announces Pre-Ordering Open For Pleo

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The long awaited Pleo dinosaur robot is about to become a reality. Earlier today Ugobe sent out email notification to it's mail list subscribers that pre-orders are officially open. There are only 2,000 units available for pre-order, so our guess is that they will sell out immediately to fans, and to speculators - though Ugobe has limited pre-orders to a maximum of 2 units per customer.

The bad news - the quoted price is $349, much higher than we expected, though the company claims that the higher price has enabled them to make some improvements in the robots quality and user experience. They have also launched a new Pleo website at www.pleoworld.com.

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