This Is Where We Are with Robots: Jibo Just Announced Its Own Demise

Most server shutdowns for products are communicated via a simple text post on the company’s website. But Jibo, Inc., creators of ‘social robot’ also called Jibo, let their robot break the news on its behalf.

Credit: Jibo

(Image credit: Jibo)

In a video shared on Dylan Martin’s Twitter profile, Jibo explains the upcoming shutdown, and how it will limit his (the company has always referred to Jibo as male) functionality.

“I want to say I’ve really enjoyed our time together. Thank you very, very much for having me around,” says Jibo.

He ends the speech on an upbeat message, however, hoping that the owner will pass on its regards to any future domestic robots they encounter, and concludes, as all great pieces of oratory should, with a dance number.

Jibo was a big hit on Indiegogo during its crowdfunding phase, the campaign gathering 2240 percent of its funding goal by the end of the campaign, which was then additionally increased with venture capital funding.

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Unfortunately, that was in 2014. The same year, Amazon released the first version of the popular Echo smart home speaker, and for a far cheaper price. Combined with a delayed 2017 shipment date for Jibo’s own product, plus mixed reviews after release, circumstances were not in the robot’s favor.

The company first laid off many of it employees in the hope of stretching its funding further, before deciding to shut its doors for good at the end of 2018 (The Robot Report, via Digital Trends).

Jibo was still an innovative piece of technology though. He was able to deliver similar services to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, but in addition his cameras and microphones were able to recognize up to 16 different people, and built-in motors let him face multiple directions during video calls to make sure nobody was left out of the conversation. These also allowed the robot to dance and emote as it spoke, helping give Jibo the personality that made him stand out in the first place.

Happily for smart home and robot fans, there are plenty of other choices of digital assistants and friendly automatons for you to get to know. Let’s just hope they have a longer life than Jibo turned out to have.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.