Anki’s Cozmo robot has been a double-edged sword for UK families. It offers some exciting features, has huge buzz online and is peerless in terms of its interactions. However, its availability has been limited to the US.
Until today, that is. Anki just announced the date and price for Cozmo coming this side of the pond. It launches in Argos and on the site on 15 September for £199.99.
Not only that, but there will be a special edition “Liquid Metal” version of Cozmo available at the same time. We had an exclusive hands on with Cozmo’s new metal brother in Anki’s London offices.
The first thing that strikes you about the new Cozmo is how shiny and metallic it is. In place of (what we’ll now call) Classic Cozmo’s matt white decals are a range of metallic finishes that accentuate Comzo’s curves.
In grey, Cozmo looks more like he means business. The press release calls it Liquid Metal but this Cozmo looks like he takes a lead from gun metal. Either way, in the hand or on the table the new Cozmo looks great.
While this is only a refresh of the exterior, spending more time with Cozmo reveals that he has come a long way since the launch version we tried at the end of last year. Not only have updates improved performance and smoothed the user experience but he has some new tricks now too.
Pick Cozmo up and shake him and he’ll get dizzy. If Cozmo spots a dog or a cat he will react to what he sees. He will also play hide and seek with you if you catch him in the right mood. He can even catch hiccups.
These enhancements come via the free Cozmo app. Here you can see how you are progressing with Cozmo, download updates and spend sparks to unlock new abilities.
This is all great, but there’s no hiding the fact that Cozmo isn’t cheap.
At £199.99 in the UK, families are going to have to be really convinced this is more than a passing fad to invest.
Here, Cozmo has some very neat tricks up his sleeve. Chief among these is the SDK. This not only let’s you programme him with special moves but you can access his full robotic repertoire. Unlike 80s tech toys like Big Track or the BBC Turtle, Cozmo is controlled through his personality and emotions.
This takes children into proper AI and robotics territory. Much like the Kinect SDK granted access to high end visual recognition, Cozmo’s SDK does the same with robotics. In fact, universities are already buying Cozmo’s be the box load to use as part of their robotics curriculum.
If you have children keen to get into programming, Cozmo is a great way to get them started. In a quick test we were shown, Cozmo was hooked up to the Twitter API and could tweet pictures from his camera. All this was achieved with just a few lines of code in less than an hour.
Whether you go for the Classic white Cozmo or his new grey brother, this is one tech toy that will keep the family not just entertained but educated as well.