Robotics products and companies alike are constantly changing and adapting to fit the demand of consumers. And for consumer robotics companies, like Anki, this can prove too much. Just a few short months after the crash of Jibo, Anki fans and product owners across the globe were crushed to hear that Anki were going out of business. But that’s exactly what happened on the first of May 2019. From that point on, Twitter and Reddit were ablaze with conspiracy theories, rumors and speculation. At least until the team at Anki released a statement to clear the air. Here at Hexnub, we are always up to date with the latest developments, especially when it comes to products we work with, like Vector and Cozmo. So what will happen to our robotic buddies now? Is this really the end for them?
Anki’s public statement:
Just over a week after Anki closed it’s doors for the final time, a statement appeared as a pop-up on the homepage of the Anki website. And with the so many different theories and possibilities being circulated, it wasn’t a moment to soon. This is the complete statement:
“It is with a heavy heart to inform you that Anki has ceased product development and we are no longer manufacturing robots. To our partners and customers, thank you for all your support and joining us on this journey to bring robotics and AI out of research labs and into your homes.
“We are taking steps to assure that customers will continue to enjoy continued use of our products. In order to provide long term support of our products, Anki has contracted our most senior leaders and hands-on engineers across all the technical areas involved in maintaining the operation and functionality in the existing products and apps. Ongoing operations for existing products typically require little to no active intervention. But, we have arranged for any support in the event it does become necessary. Vector is the only product with a notable cloud component, and the contracted team is heavily staffed in that area.
“Currently, we have implemented a self-serve Help Center to assist in getting the most out of your product, regretfully there are no agents available, however we are monitoring cloud operations for Anki accounts and Vector.
“We plan to solidify and communicate all the details of this plan soon.”
What does this mean for Cozmo and Vector?
So, from this statement we can learn a little bit more information about the situation. Essentially, Anki aren’t going to let their robots die overnight. Instead, they’ve opted to keep them up and running for the long term. But they have stopped manufacturing. This means that the last Cozmo and Vector products left in stores and online, are probably the last of their kind available. So they’re kind of an endangered species!
For both Cozmo and Vector, the level of continued support necessary, moving forward, will be different. But it’s important to note that there will be no future updates or features added to either Cozmo or Vector. So it’s a good job that this pair still offer the best in entertainment and consumer robotics and technology, for the best price. But, that’s the bad news. So, what’s the good news?
Well, with continued support, your robots will remain working, just as they are, with no problems connecting to the cloud services. For Cozmo, the problem of disconnecting servers would be minimal anyway, as Cozmo works through a local connection, between the robot and your mobile device. On the other hand, Vector needs the cloud for a range of his flagship tasks, including voice commands and machine learning. So the fact that this will remain supported for the long term is great news, given the circumstances!
Should you still buy Cozmo or Vector?
So, this poses the question, should you still buy a Cozmo or a Vector robot? Well, as huge fans, we’d obviously say yes! But maybe we’re a bit biased. The best thing would be to establish whether or not you are happy with the range of features each product can offer right now. In short:
- Cozmo has recently been updated, before the news, with a whole range of new features, games and ways to play. This includes a CodeLab, which is the perfect environment to learn to code. And when you’re not playing with Cozmo, he’ll entertain himself with his three cubes and autonomous behavior.
- Vector is a helpful, funny, personable consumer robot, designed to help you with daily life, but with more personality and character than an Amazon Echo or a Google Assistant. With AI Vector can find and play with his toy cube, explore your desk or home, recognize you, give fist-bumps and even self charge. He even has Alexa built in too. Even with no future updates, Vector is still a whole lot of tech, and a great product, for the money.
With future support secured, there’s no reason not to buy one of these innovative and entertaining robot buddies, while you have the chance. And you can have more fun and increase your play opportunities with either Vector or Cozmo, with our range of awesome products.
Could Vector go open source?
On a lot of platforms, from Facebook to Reddit, and even the Anki Developer Forum, people are calling for Vectors software to be made open source. This would mean that developers could produce and publish updates for Vector, that could mimic any plans that Anki had for the product originally. The only difference is that these updates would be entirely optional, and applied by the user. Unfortunately for the enthusiasts out there, it doesn’t seem like this will be a likely option. But as the saying goes, never say never!
For future updates, and to keep up-to-date with all the latest robotic news, why not join our mailing list. And if you want more information about Cozmo and Vector, and what they can offer, check out our guide.