Jibo, the “world’s first social robot for the home,” pitched to backers on Indiegogo and raised over $3 million. Coupled with shipping delays and development hiccups, the talking tabletop robot will only be delivered to backers in the United States and Canada.
In an email update sent to international backers, the company said “Jibo won’t function up to our standards in your country.”
The email explains in greater detail why exactly Jibo isn’t slated for an overseas launch.
“We need to share with you some important information about your Jibo Indiegogo and InDemand pre-orders. After exploring all the options, we have come to the conclusion that we will not be able to deliver Jibo to your country. The reason is clear: Jibo won’t function up to our standards in your country. We know this is disappointing news and that many of you have been looking forward to Jibo’s arrival since our campaign first launched, and for that we’re truly sorry. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support of Jibo and our vision, and to do right by you, we will issue full refunds to all pre-order customers in your country.”
Undoubtedly sad for the world’s first social robot built for the home right? A majority of Jibo’s backers are outside of the United States and Canada notes Robotics Trends, and as you can expect, these backers aren’t pleased with the company update.
— Samir (Sam) Madani (@Samir_Madani) August 9, 2016
— Bob K (@hisbrotherbob) August 9, 2016
A refund page claims that company’s failure to ship Jibo internationally boils down to “performance latency issues” caused by operating servers in the United States. In other words, Jibo isn’t expected to operate well if it’s far away from its servers handling voice recognition. Hence why the company claims it can’t ship to international backers.
In addition, “rapidly changing consumer-privacy laws” are subject to regulation and legislation in countries outside of the United States. The company says this would create barriers for backers to enjoy their Jibo. The solution is for Jibo to be localized, where Jibo speaks and understands the language of the country it’s in and to have servers located where it’s at. Judging by how long it took the company to develop an English-speaking Jibo, this could take years.
Jibo is supposedly set to launch in the United States and Canada in October. That is unless no further updates hint a hindered arrival.