Sony Aibo Case Study

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Sony AIBO case analysis
AIBO, a robotic dog doesn’t do anything useful at all, but provides “entertainment” by stimulating some of the personality characteristics of a pet without the inconvenience of a real animal. According to Toshitada Doi, Sony’s leading computer engineer, AIBO is a computer that provides love and healing for people. The first generation ERS-110 can imitate dog’s behaviors, “see”, show “emotions”, “learn” and evolve “personality”. The second generation ERS-210 has voice recognition and more dexterous. The new AIBO came with new software options as well. After adding wireless LAN technology, Sony has unveiled its new “entertainment architecture”, dubbed OPEN-R, which provided third-party developers with the ability to create any number of software applications as well as hardware modules. Though priced at whopping $2,500, $1,500 the second generation, Sony’s profit margin on the AIBO was close to zero. It is the software applications and hardware modules developed by Sony and third-party developers that makes money for the company. AIBO has created such a stir that only two products had in the history of Sony: the original Walkman and the Playstation game console, far exceeding the developers’ expectations. It is such a success in Japan; the American market is not that hot. Par of the reasons were the culture differences between these two countries. In Japan, many people live in small apartments where real pets are not allowed. And Japan has a large elderly population, to whom a companion without any inconvenience is perfect. Besides, robots in Japanese culture are heroes and Japanese are so fascinated about high-technology while to older Americans, too lifelike technology is dangerous and threatening. Apart from the culture elements, most customers were confused of what Sony was selling. The confusion was compounded by the release of a number of low-end knock-offs. The performance of five years’, six prototypes’, and millions of yen’s...
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