Amazon Pulls the Plug on $2,350 Astro for Business, Shifts Focus to Home Robots

Rahul Somvanshi

Updated on:

Amazon Astro, Household robot for home monitoring, with Alexa , Video Source : Amazon

Household over Security: Amazon is planning to focus on household robots, instead of business. Therefore, the online retailer is removing the security robot Astro for Business from the market and discontinuing support.

“To accelerate our progress and ongoing research to make Astro the best in-home robot, we’ve made the decision to wind down support for Astro for Business,” an Amazon spokesperson told the British news agency Reuters. On September 25, the product will be shut down. Then, the robots will no longer be usable. Personal data stored on the robots will be deleted.

Effective immediately, Amazon is also no longer charging subscription fees for the use of the robot. Fees paid in advance will be refunded. Amazon is taking the robot back and refunding the purchase price, a considerable $2,350. In addition, there is a credit of $300 on the Amazon account to assist customers in finding a replacement solution, as stated in an email sent by Amazon to customers. The email was published by the US online magazine The Verge.

Amazon introduced Astro in September 2021. The robot is about half a meter tall, rides on two wheels, and has a 10-inch tablet. It was originally intended for the household: for example, Astro is supposed to remind of appointments, play music, and also serve as a mobile surveillance camera. However, Astro as a household robot is not freely available – to buy it, one needs an invitation. At the end of last year, Amazon introduced the version Astro for Business as a security robot. Companies were supposed to use it to patrol through business premises.

Amazon’s foray into the world of robotics for the business sector appears not to have yielded the expected results. The company has informed its customers and employees that it will cancel the business version of Amazon Astro, its smart robot, and that the existing units will soon stop working. Once this happens, the devices will turn into expensive paperweights. The decision specifically impacts Astro for Business, the model Amazon introduced in mid-November 2023. According to the company (via The Verge), the robots will be deactivated and all stored information will be deleted on September 25. The recordings made by the device will continue to be available on the Ring app, as long as the Ring Protect subscription is active or until the video storage time expires.

Similar Posts

The cancellation of the business version of Amazon Astro is quite striking, given that it had been on the market for just over half a year. It is worth noting that the discontinuation only affects this model dedicated to surveillance tasks for small and medium-sized businesses. The home version of the smart robot, which was announced in 2021, remains available, and it seems that Amazon is not yet ready to give up on this segment.

Amazon might be preparing a new Astro robot for homes. When Amazon announced the first version of Astro, it seemed to have focused all its efforts on robotics applied to the smart home. However, the $1,449 device never left the U.S. and was only offered—and continues to be offered—by invitation through the Day 1 program. With the announcement of Astro for Business, it seemed that Amazon would change its strategy to exploit its use in business environments. Moving it from homes to businesses appeared to be a way to deal with its limited availability and criticisms of its fragility and privacy issues.

However, the discontinuation of Amazon Astro for businesses could be accompanied by an attempt to revitalize the home-focused approach of this product. In his message to the consumer robotics team of the company, Lindo St. Angel, Vice President of Amazon Devices said the following: “Like all of you, I firmly believe in the long-term benefits that robots will offer our customers, and the advances in generative AI make this even more exciting. I am increasingly convinced that the progress we are making in home robotics is where we should focus our resources. To do this and further accelerate our progress, we have made the decision to close the Astro for Business program to focus our efforts entirely on creating the best consumer robotics products for the home.”

In the notice sent to Astro for Business users, it was also mentioned: “At Amazon, we seek to invent new solutions like Astro for Business to help serve our customers. While we are proud of what we have built, we have made the decision to end support for Astro for Business to focus on making Astro the best robot for the home.”

All this suggests that Amazon Astro has not been completely discarded. Beyond the cancellation of its version for businesses, Andy Jassy’s team would be convinced to give it another chance in the domestic sphere. It would not be surprising, then, if the company decides to launch a third generation of the device equipped with the new Alexa and more AI functions. The company usually holds its hardware events in the last quarter of the year, so we will have to wait until then to see if it materializes.

Leave a comment