Amazon’s “Astro” robot branded a failure and a “toy for rich people” by employees


Amazon employees are divided on the company’s new head-turning $1,000 home robot, with some already deeming it a failure and a toy for rich people.

Other insiders believe it is the next big innovation that every household will want, leaked conversations with half a dozen Amazon employees who worked on the project, codenamed “Vesta” have revealed.

The new home assistant robot, coined “Astro”, stole the show at Amazon’s annual tech event, where the company demonstrated a number of new tech products including the latest in its Echo range.

One employee claims that the robot will be a category-creator and instigate a need for home-assistant robots, Business Insider reported.

They said on the high price-point, that any likely customer will be the “child of a hedge fund founder.”

“We think every titan of the industry will want one of these in their homes, trust me, if you have any rich friends, they’ll buy it as soon as it is announced,” they told Business Insider.

Another employee disagreed by saying: “Who would want to dish out $1,000 on that? It’s really expensive, can’t imagine a middle-class person buying it.”

Others likened Astro to some of Amazon’s other failures such as the Fire Phone, which was Amazon’s attempt at stepping into the smartphone market.

READ MORE: Amazon profits to drop 16% as labour costs set to jump $4 billion says Morgan Stanley

However production was canned a year after the release in 2014, costing the company $170 million in unsold inventory as a result.

Another employee added: “We already know it’s going to fail, I anticipate a similar outcome to the Fire Phone.”

The company itself however has high hopes for its three-wheeled home assistant robot, with a spokesperson saying: “We choose to be optimists, and believe robots will make a meaningful difference in customers’ lives.

“Our team has a vision for a future, 5-10 years from now, where every home will have a robot, and we’re excited to get started.”

There are concerns however over how it could impact the for-hire assistant business, however Amazon has cooled fears by saying that Astro is not a replacement for nurses or maids, adding that it can’t lift things or climb stairs.

According to Business Insider, Astro is considered Jeff Bezos’ last passion project before stepping down as company chief executive.

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