New Sony aibo robodog packages a ton of tech inside a cuddly plastic AI puppy

Supertoys last about three years, apparently

We said a while back that Sony was planning bring back aibo the robot dog, which always seemed to be a bit more than a toy while not quite being a full fledged dog. Well, looks like Sony is going deep on the dog end of things with the new aibo, which is angling to steal your puppy-loving heart. When Sony said they were rethinking the project with AI and other aspects, they weren’t kidding.

The new aibo mostly ditches the robot motif and literally focuses on being a playful pup, with OLED eyes that have eyelids and a wide range of expressive abilities, floppy ears and a wiggly fun tail. And that cute button nose? Yep, that’s a camera. He even loves toys – as long as they’re pink. We kid you not. aibo is packing a ton tech: 4 microphones, wifi, a literal fleet of sensors, and enough motors to give the robodog 22 axis of movement for its many, many moving parts.

Sony says aibo now incorporates deep learning and “will eventually able to respond to its owners’ affection in kind, and when it feels loved, it will display even more love and affection in return, nurturing a bond that only deepens as time goes on.” Sounds amazing, and a little bit creepy. Put some fur on the thing and he’ll give Teddy a run for his money. Sony also says no two aibo will be exactly alike due to their highly localized learning abilities.

The new aibo costs about $2,000 and is for the Japanese market only – at this time. You’ll also need to pony up another $900 for the mandatory 3-year aibo “Basic Plan,” and another $540 for the “Support Care” program. But hey, it only eats electricity and there’s never a stinky mess to clean up, so totally worth it. Want one? Too late. Preorders started today and immediately sold out. But Sony says they’re gonna make more aibos; we’d guess a LOT more.


Well, it is now November, which means the tech world is gearing up for its biggest party of the year: yep, Black Friday. Or Black Thursday. Or Black November as the case may be. Forbes says Nintendo is already planning on tempting gamers this holiday season with a spread of deals, including a Mario-themed Switch gaming system with red controllers, a Super Mario Odyssey download code and a special carry case, all for just $379.

OK, not exactly worth missing Turkey Day to stand in line, but they are also pushing out special bundles of the hit game Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, and a new “Link Green” 2DS handheld with the Ocarina of Time Zelda game for just $80. And if you’re TV shopping, Amazon is also getting the discounts going early with some hidden gems, including this Samsung 65-inch 4K HDR Smart TV for $989, nearly half price. DT will be working up an ongoing list of the best Black Friday tech deals as the holidays get ever closer.

The little big screen of the future

Speaking of TV, there aren’t many pleasures in life equal to coming home at the end of a long work day, plopping down on the ‘ol couch, putting on your VR headset and binge watching your favorite TV show. Did we forget to say “watch TV?” No, no we didn’t.

DT’s Steven Parton has peered into the future of television and found it hiding inside a high-resolution headset, where “TV” can hijack your brain even more than it does now. By blocking out other distractions, watching TV in a headset is even more immersive, because of course, that’s the point of a headset. But studies show that “goggle TV” or whatever you want to call it also activates our limbic systems to the point where they react almost as they do in real life.

Current and upcoming VR headset models are beginning to feature “watching TV” – or movies – as a feature, and while screen headset resolutions at this point can’t quite compete with cutting-edge OLED or even decent LCD TV tech, eventually, it will, we have no doubt. What then? No more old-school flat-panel TVs? Just dark rooms and headsets? Sounds sorta gloomy – unless you’re wearing a headset, of course.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

Home Theater

Sony’s 2019 TV lineup includes a 98-inch 8K OLED that costs more than a Corvette

Sony's 2019 TV lineup is revealed, including 8K and 4K models ranging in size from 43- to 98-inches and in price from $650 to a number much, much larger. The models will be available between May and June.

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for April 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google Chrome exploit, CyberHat, and Panasonic S1 unboxing

Hackers targeting Google Chrome, Apple AR glasses, and a Panasonic camera unboxing highlighted this episode of Digital Trends Live. We also sat down with the general manager of CyberHat, Yifat Bar-Eli, to talk about cyber security.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple rumors, Google gaming, and TerraCycle

On episode 83 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Ryan Waniata explored the biggest news stories from the world of tech, including Google's new gaming patent, Apple's upcoming event, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple’s March event, Huawei 5G concerns, and SXSW coverage

Apple's latest event and a possible Boring Company tunnel in Las Vegas highlighted this episode of Digital Trends Live. We also joined Pavi Dinamani live at SXSW. She talked with Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls CODE.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook outage, best of SXSW, and more

On episode 86 of Digital Trends Live, host Greg Nibler discussed trending tech news from a widely felt Facebook outage to the best tech at SXSW. Drew Prindle also stopped by the show to talk about the latest skateboard from OneWheel.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla Model Y, The Missing Link, and good digital hygiene

Episode 89 of Digital Trends Live covered topics including Tesla's newest crossover, as well as an interview with What's Trending co-founder Shira Lazar. We also talked about Laika Studios' latest stop-motion animated film, Missing Link.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Robocalls, robot dogs, and tech in government

On episode 92 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Nicole Raney broke down the biggest news stories from the world of tech, including an embarrassing robocall incident, an uncanny robot dog, and Oregon's State Treasurer talks tech.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple event recap, digital drive-thrus, and grooming awards

On episode 95 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Adrien Warner explored the biggest stories form the world of tech. On the docket this time: A recap of the recent Apple event, McDonald's digital drive-throughs, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: April Fools’ pranks, SodaStream in space, and more

On episode 99 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Sam Slaughter broke down the biggest news stories from the world of tech, and talked to some fascinating guests, including astronaut Scott Kelly.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon mothership, HP’s 80th-anniversary sale, and more

On episode 101 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Dan Gaul broke down the biggest stories from the world of tech, and talked to some fascinating guests. On the docket this time: The Amazon blimp, HP's anniversary sale, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon satellites, Women of the Manhattan Project, and more

On Friday's episode of Digital Trends Live, cameras in Telsa vehicles finally explained by Elon Musk. We also interviewed Wally Zheng at the Edison Awards, and talked to the co-founder of MoviePass, Stacey Spikes, about her latest app.