, which happens to mean something like "pal" or "companion" in Japanese
, comes from A
t. Initially seen as a good pet substitute for Japanese small apartment
dwellers, the price kept them out of most of the households. When you don't want to walk the dog
(or clean up after it), you didn't have to. That doesn't mean they didn't mimic
dogs -- they were known to lift a leg and 'pee' if mistreated.
It looks like the Aibo's days are numbered. Sony, in an effort to focus on its core electronics and compete better with companies like Hitachi and Samsung, has decided to drop its niche products, which includes the Aibo. Sony did say they would supply parts for at least seven years, but many owners are concerned. Most of them think of their Aibo as true pets, and having a pet die can be traumatic. I forsee a study in the future, to gauge the reactions of owners when their robots cease to function.