Adorable robots are always a winner at MWC, so it’s no surprise that Sony’s new concept robot — enigmatically named the Xperia “Agent” — is designed to endear. The globe-headed little ‘bot brought in plenty of onlookers at the show thanks in large part to his adorable eye slits, which blink as he looks around. However, like a lot of concept projects, the big question for this little ‘bot is, “What does it actually do?”
Well, nothing really — not just yet, anyway. Sony’s envisioned a sort of multi-tasking, connected role for the Agent — part Amazon Echo-style smart hub, part tabletop projector that beams images from the web out in front of it, and part Internet of Things smart controller. That’s if the Agent makes it off the drawing room floor. Still, even if it’s just a proof of concept, there are some intriguing plans for the Agent.
Your phone, in robot form
The “Xperia” part of the Agent’s name is linked to Sony’s smartphone lineup, as the little dude is designed to be something of an extension of your phone. In that regard, the ‘bot’s designed to perform the same voice-controlled actions you might do on your smartphone each morning, including sourcing news and weather, reading your messages, or even making video calls, all without the need to hold your device.
Internet of Things ambassador
In addition, the Agent could theoretically be your voice-operated hub for your smart home. Sony claims the little guy could complete a variety of IoT tasks, including everything from turning on the lights, controlling your thermostat and home security system, and possibly even sourcing streaming stations and accessing your multiroom sound system — preferably using one of Sony’s SRS-X speakers, of course.
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to get a device like the Agent talking to all of your smart home devices. Sony couldn’t give us a clear answer as to whether the Agent would be a proprietary device — hooked into Sony’s own infrastructure — or an open-source device, able to speak the language of many different Internet of Things products. And, of course, that’s where the “concept” comes into play. There’s no clear plan for the Agent as of now.
Still, you have to admit, it’s hard not to love the Xperia Agent. Here’s hoping Sony’s carefully plotting his future, so it won’t be long before he’s joining us for breakfast and filling us in our our coming day.