Better late than never. Digital Dream Labs (DDL), the edutainment startup that acquired Anki’s IP in December 2019, is gearing up to relaunch the popular Cozmo and Vector consumer robots by signing a global retail distribution deal with Protempo. The goal is to have the robots physically on retail store shelves in time for the 2021 holiday season.
The Robot Report broke the news of DDL acquiring Anki’s IP. DDL founder Jacob Hanchar told us at the time the goal was to relaunch Overdrive, Cozmo and Vector, in that order, for the 2020 holiday season. DDL relaunched Overdrive in 2020, but Cozmo and Vector are a bit behind schedule. Cozmo and Vector can both be pre-ordered online. If you pre-order Vector today online, for example, it could be shipped to you as early as July 15, 2021, DDL said.
“There is a tremendous demand for these robots,” said Hanchar. “This partnership will complement the work our teams are already doing to relaunch these products and will ensure that Cozmo and Vector are on shelves for the holidays.”
DDL is relaunching Vector as open-source, meaning users can program it to do what they want. While DDL touts improved battery life and camera resolution, perhaps the biggest difference with DDL’s version of Vector is the robot’s subscription model. This was always DDL’s plan. A one-year membership is included when you buy the robot for $299.99. The subscription unlocks certain features for Vector. Each Vector membership covers one robot and costs $7 per month – or $47 per year if you pay at once. The chart below breaks down the features unlocked with a membership:
The new Cozmo costs $219.99 and features improved battery life, obstacle detection and camera resolution, and a new full color display. DDL appears to be emphasizing the ability to teach coding to kids using Cozmo. DDL said Cozmo can be programmed with its Code Lab app.
“Relaunching Cozmo and Vector after a few years off is an exciting initiative,” said Paige Carlson, Sr. Director of Sales at Protempo. “The partnership between Digital Dream Labs and Protempo will bring these hugely successful brands back to retailers in time for holiday 2021. We will satisfy pent-up demand as well as engage millions of new fans to the massive appeal of Cozmo and Vector robots.”
Anki abruptly shut down in April 2019 despite raising about $200 million in funding. It made more than $325 million in revenue since it was founded in 2010. It made $118 million in gross revenue in 2018.
All three of Anki’s co-founders have publicly acknowledged they have moved on. Mark Palatucci joined Waymo in November as a staff research scientist working on autonomous vehicles. In August 2020, Hans Tappeiner was named director of product development at Apple’s Special Projects Group. Boris Sofman joined Waymo as its director of engineering, head of trucking.