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Sony's Stringer kills (robot) dog

Aibo axed in profitability push

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Sony has killed off its Aibo robo-doggie, the consumer electronics giant reported yesterday. The computerised canine was one of many victims of the company's attempt to get back into profitability.

Aibo won't disappear just yet: while the development of new models of the mechanical mutt has now ceased, Sony said production of the current version is targeted to stop by the end of the company's current fiscal year - it comes to a close on 31 March. After-sales support will continue, Sony said, so there will still be help to be had for misbehaving droids.

Sony sold some 150,000 Aibos since the plastic pooch was launched back in 1999. Since then the company has experienced financial woes, forcing recently appointed head honcho Howard Stringer to seek ways to bring the company back into the black.

Out too goes Sony's more anthropomorphic android, Qrio. However, the artificial intelligence developments that were incarnated into both Qrio and Aibo will live on, Sony admitted, to be "deployed in a broad range of consumer electronics products".

DVD players that bark back, anyone? ®

Sony Aibo robot dog
Aibo: gone but not forgotten...

Sony Qrio robot
Qrio: just gone...

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