As part of a Taiwanese government project to promote development with Google’s Android platform, computer maker Asus is reportedly planning to build an educational robot for children based on the Android platform.
As outlined on a Taiwanese government Web site—and first noted by PC World—Asus would develop both the hardware and software for the bot; the concept envisions the educational robots as a platform that don’t so much earn money through hardware sales—the cost will be subsidized to make them more affordable to schools and families—but generate revenue through services and content designed specifically for the devices. There’s no timetable on the device, except that Asus expects to begin trial production on the systems in about two years, and believes the the program will generate about $120 million USD within four years.
The project plan has not been finalized, but could be another step in Asus’s efforts to extend its Eee brand of netbook and nettop computers to other areas of consumer electronics. It’s not clear what kind of content and services the company (or the Taiwanese government) plans to offer to accompany a robot: after all, it’s one thing to have a gizmo that can waddle around and bump into wall, but quite another for that device to be a significant educational tool.
Although a robot is a new direction for the Android platform, developers have already been pushing the operating system into devices other than phones, including devices like the Nook e-reader and netbooks.