Sanbot’s New Alexa-Powered Robot is a $2800 Echo

Last month at the IFA consumer electronics trade show, China-based Qihan introduced its latest robotic creation, the Sanbot Nano. The three-foot tall robot was designed to be “the next member of the family” and is Qihan’s first attempt at creating a product geared towards consumers. The company has already had mild success with the Sanbot Elf, a business friendly robot which was recently used by Dubai police to interview new job candidates. Besides their target market, the main difference between the two robots is that the Nano is powered by Amazon’s Alexa, giving users access to the same features as any Alexa-enabled device.

A Mobile Echo

And there lies the problem. I don’t see any real distinction between the Nano and the Amazon Echo when it comes to functionality. The only real difference is that the Nano is mobile. Oh, and it will run you $2800. For that price, you could have three Echos in every room of your house and have enough money left over to order pizza through Alexa. But if you have money to burn, the novelty aspect of owning a robot could persuade you to purchase the Nano. How many people can say they own a robot? But besides the mobility and novelty factors, the Sanbot Nano is essentially a very expensive Echo. Until my $2800 home assistant robot can cook me dinner or do my laundry, I’ll stick with my Echo Dot.