It's fun to buy new devices. Early adopters, especially, love to get the latest and greatest tech. But with such high turnover in the industry, leading to many tech brands going bust and disappearing from existence, maybe we should think twice before investing in newborn gadgets.
Enter: Jibo. This cutesy, internet-connected home robot released in November 2017 after three years of crowdfunding and launch delays. Reviews of the device decided it was a lively little robot that could perform basic assistant functions. However, although it could integrate with IFTTT, it couldn't do nearly as much as Google or Amazon's smart home assistants. And it cost a lot more.
Now, the servers running Jibo are shutting down. The robot started warning its owners on 4 March with a rather sad message. Journalist Dylan Martin tweeted a video showing Jibo announcing its functions will soon be “limited”. It thanked Martin and added: “Maybe someday, when robots are more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said ‘hello’.”
Jibo then did an adorable, albeit pitiful, dance.
The servers for Jibo the social robot are apparently shutting down. Multiple owners report that Jibo himself has been delivering the news: "Maybe someday when robots are way more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said hello." pic.twitter.com/Sns3xAV33h— Dylan Martin (@DylanLJMartin) March 2, 2019
Owners have also been told to go to the Jibo website for more information, but Jibo’s own website has a bunch of dead links and videos. It really makes you think about how, when you buy something, it can become a brick when the servers stop or software dies. It's a warning sign to early adopters. Although it's fun to try something new, maybe it's worth waiting to see if it reaches toddlerhood.
Just think about all the tech brands and devices you've went all in on in the past - but that ended up going nowhere. Microsoft Band comes to mind, as does the Essential Phone. Sure, the latter still exists, but all signs point to an imminent death. The writing was on the wall for Jibo for months, too. Late last year, for instance, The Robot Report claimed that Jibo sold all of its intellectual property to SQN Venture Partners.
What do you think?
Is it worth spending your hard-earned cash on devices that can't promise to still be around in 15 months? Is it even possible for them to do that? It's one of those risks we all seem to take, and we just hope it works out. For Jibo's owners, they got the short end of the stick this time. But, hey, they do have a lovely defunct robot that can now serve as a $900 paperweight.