So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.

Business Decision

Despite being out for less than a year, Amazon has announced that its Astro patrol robot for small and medium businesses will be bricked at the end of August.

First reported by GeekWire, this sad news for robot mallcop enthusiasts comes from a leaked internal email to Amazon employees about the $2,350 gadget.

In the email, Amazon Devices vice president Lindo St. Angel said that the company is winding down its Astro for Business models, which were never released to the public and purchased on an invite-only basis, to make way for home robots.

"I am increasingly convinced the progress we’re making in home robotics is where we should focus our resources," St. Angel wrote in the July 3 email. "To do this, and accelerate our progress further, we’ve made the decision to wind down the Astro for Business program to focus our efforts entirely on building the best consumer robotics products for the home."

As The Verge noted in its reporting on the news, the new home version of Astro may — per another leaked memo — contain conversational generative AI that "remembers what it saw and understood" and can answer questions about the things it saw.

It remains unclear, however, who would actually want to buy such a creepy device.

Your Money Back

Amazon told Astro for Business customers in a separate email viewed by GeekWire that their robots will stop working on August 25, just over ten months after the project was finally launched in November 2023 after years of development.

Though the bricking of Astro will likely be irritating to those who shelled out for the store-patrolling flatscreen on wheels, they'll at least be made whole.

In its email to customers, Amazon said that it would refund the money spent on the robot and any related outstanding subscriptions, most of which have to do with video storage and patrol route programming. And it'll also give those customers $300 Amazon bucks for their trouble, too.

Amazon is staying mum on how many people actually bought Astro for Business, and as of now, nobody knows how much the home version will cost either.

Previous reporting on the Astro models, however, suggests the home robot will be way cheaper than the business one — which is probably for the best, given that it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to spend more than two grand on a weird robot that talks to them and then becomes permanently useless.

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