At today's ASUS Zenvolution press event in advance of Computex, ASUS unveiled a new personal assistant robot for home use: Zenbo. The core functionality of Zenbo will be voice commands similar in principle to Amazon Echo, but Zenbo is also mobile and features a display as its face.

With industrial design reminiscent of Star Wars' BB-8, WALL-E's EVE, and early iMacs, Zenbo tries to be a cute and inviting device that projects a cartoonish demeanor. ASUS used an amusing 11-minute video to showcase features and use cases planned for the robot, including reminders, controlling home automation devices, photography, voice and video calling, and online shopping. ASUS is also establishing a developer program to encourage the creation of third-party applications to add further capabilities and integration with online services.

The usefulness of Zenbo will depend highly on the software ecosystem around it. ASUS does not have an established presence for speech recognition, natural language processing and online search, so they may need to rely on partners for key features. The hardware appears to suffer the same crucial weakness as Daleks: an apparent inability to navigate stairs (Ian: Can't Daleks fly now?). Other than that, it will be able to follow users around to stay within audible range and may be able to seek out the user to deliver notifications and reminders.

During the live demo of Zenbo, ASUS invited onstage the Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Client Computing Group, Nevin Shenoy, revealing Zenbo to be a collaboration between ASUS and Intel. No release date has been mentioned but the price is planned to be $599.

 

Source: ASUS

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  • mrdude - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    I liked you better with the mohawk, Johnny 5. Reply
  • jjj - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    Daleks can EXTERMINATE the stairs!
    Seems a bit too dumb but it's great that they are doing this and maybe it gets a bit smarter by launch.The price is favorable though and that makes it a lot easier to market this.
    They should add a bit of modularity to be able to add some hardware.
    Hopefully they don't cripple it with mandatory payed services, that would be the worst thing they could do and it's fashionable nowadays.
    Reply
  • casperes1996 - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    Did anybody watch the video? I have not seen a script that bad and acting so terrible for a long, long time. Fairly alright camera and audio work, although it felt like they tried too hard to be something they aren't quite ready to be. Reply
  • SeannyB - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    The promo video is a brow-raiser, but I'm otherwise looking forward to seeing this out in the wild, and how well it lives up to its various use cases outside of a glossy video production. How well can it navigate a house, locate people, and infer context? I hope Asus sends AnandTech a review sample, lol. Reply
  • nandnandnand - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    True garbage. Increase the processing power by 1,000x or include a neuromorphic chip and then we'll talk. Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    For $599 you could probably just buy several Amazon Echo or Google Home devices and leave one in each room of the house... I fail to see how the roving capabilities add much beyond the fact that it looks like a Wall-E/BB-8 offspring. Reply
  • AnotherGuy - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    Hey but it looks so cool... to have of of these following u around... Imagine if they could leave the house, they are ur new pet lol except that it doesnt have any needs. Reply

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