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Robotics Businesses Toys

Ugobe, Maker of Pleo, Files For Bankruptcy 79

AshboryBassPlayer writes "Ugobe has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy — i.e., not reorganization but liquidation. We first discussed the company's Pleo robotic dinosaur toy in 2006. According to the company, 100,000 Pleos were sold in 2008. CEO Caleb Chung is optimistic about the auction value of intellectual property that Ugobe holds. Pleo featured 14 servo joints, a camera, and an SD Card for storage. The final street prices were commonly between $275 and $350, much higher than an earlier hoped-for price point under $200."
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Ugobe, Maker of Pleo, Files For Bankruptcy

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  • Pleo? Ugobe? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by snarfies ( 115214 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:50PM (#27703519) Homepage

    I have never seen the words "Pleo" or "Ugobe" until today. I would suggest that nobody else has either - which makes Chapter 7 inevitable.

    That, and even if I HAD heard of either, even their hoped-for $200 is way too much for a toy, I'm sorry.

  • Am I the only one? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinoflight ( 517245 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:51PM (#27703545) Homepage Journal
    It seems like every other day I see a newly released product introduced at a 20-30% premium above initially announced price. Soliciting interest by being optimistic about cost seems to be the norm, but I wonder if these projects would be more successful if they were honest about expected prices.
  • Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mc1138 ( 718275 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:54PM (#27703583) Homepage
    I'm not saying its not a cool idea, but really, all a kid wants is a dinosaur he can pick up, and then smash against other dinosaurs. Sometimes its possible to be too complex, and too expensive for parents.
  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:07PM (#27703773)

    I've seen how this unfolds in software, I don't know about toys, but it usually goes somethnig like:

    10 Boss to Client: It will cost X and will make date Y!
    20 Boss to IT managers: We need it by Y!
    30 Developers work overtime
    40 Boss to IT managers: Keep costs down, we need to have it meet X by Y
    50 IT managers' head explodes from paradox overload
    60 "Rush job" turns into Poo, UAT date slips
    70 Spit and bailing twine fail in UAT
    80 Deadline Y whooshes by..

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:15PM (#27703877) Journal
    What the world needs right now is another Heathkit Hero style DIY robot kit, not a $200 "one trick pony" toy.
  • Kid tested? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SnarfQuest ( 469614 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:23PM (#27703995)

    It's obvious that they never did any "kid testing" on their toy. If you give a kid a dinosour toy, he will do the obvious kid thing: Pick it up by the tail and repeatably bash it against his toy truck.

    $275 is too much to spend on a hammer, unless it's for government use.

  • Re:Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:33PM (#27704111) Homepage

    I don't think this was meant for kids. They marketed this at conferences like GDC and CES, which target geeks. Probably the geeks would buy them, claiming it was for the kids. :-)

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:49PM (#27704375) Journal

    That might be, but if so, it was a terrible business plan and as an earlier poster said, Chapter 7 was inevitable.

    I actually do remember the release of the Pleo and saw a couple in stores. Everyone looked at it for about 10 seconds, saw the price tag and said "Ouch!", walking away quickly.

    Especially in THIS economy, people can't justify hundreds of dollars spent on a gimmicky toy, which is what Pleo amounts to. I'm as big a geek as anybody, but I still look for products that actually do something cool I think I'll use. For example, I just saw a sale today on 1TB SATA drives for about $78 each. I could buy 3 for a RAID 5 array in a computer and still have spent less than a Pleo. I know I can do a lot with the drive space....

    I totally agree with the person who said a full-fledged "Hero 1" type robot would be a better product. Make it versatile enough, and schools will pay the higher price to have one in a learning lab, etc.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman