Amazon puts down its Astro robotic business watchdog

Now even the 'droids are being laid off – sheesh!

Amazon is axing its Astro for Business robotic security sentry just seven months after announcing the thing.

The official kill command will go out on September 25, which will halt the mechanical guards for good and wipe all user data from their memory, Amazon said in an email to customers today.

"We are fully committed to our vision of bringing world-class consumer robotics solutions to the home," Amazon told The Register just now.

"To accelerate our progress and ongoing research to make Astro the best in-home robot, we've made the decision to wind down support for Astro for Business."

Amazon's Astro robot

Amazon's Astro robot ... Click to enlarge

Announced back in November, Astro for Business was envisioned as a mobile patrol bot that could, for instance, watch over inventories. The robot was designed to integrate with Amazon's Ring Protect, Astro Secure, and Virtual Security Guard services; that last one allowed a remote agent to take control of the bot to investigate disturbances.

All of this would set you back $2,349.99 for the 'droid and between $20 and $99 a month depending on your subscription plan.

Alas, Astro is seemingly not all that popular with businesses, as Amazon has decided to shift its focus toward developing consumer robotics platforms for home users. To this end, Amazon is careful to note that its Astro household robot, which is currently only available by invite, has not been shelved and continues to be supported.

"I am a big believer in the long-term benefits robots will offer our customers, and advancements in generative AI make this only more exciting. I am increasingly convinced the progress we're making in home robotics is where we should focus our resources," Lindo St Angel, VP of engineering at Amazon Lab126, wrote in an email to employees.

As of Wednesday Astro for Business devices and services are no longer available for purchase, while Amazon says existing customers can expect to receive a refund for the device, alongside a $300 credit to their Amazon account that can be used to purchase a "replacement solution" sometime in the next few weeks.

Amazon says it will also be canceling any subscriptions tied to the robots and customers will receive refunds for unused pre-paid subscription fees.

Owners of the soon to be bricked bot are encouraged to take advantage of Amazon's recycling program. Meanwhile, anyone who has grown attached to the robotic sentry will have the option of bringing a new Astro home under Amazon's Astro Day 1 Editions Program. ®

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