iRobot is finally giving its Roomba vacuums the smart home treatment. Today, it was announced that the new Roomba 980 would include Wi-Fi connectivity that enables cloud-based administration and more. Coinciding with today’s release is the new iRobot HOME app that brings smartphone management of this new vacuum to life. The 980 will even make a virtual map of your home with its new on-board camera. All of these new features are going to cost you though.
The new Roomba 980 is the first vacuum release from iRobot in two years since the 880 hit the shelves (or floors). Like the previous generation model, its updated brethren has ditched the brushes for a motorized system that it claims will clean twice as as well as the older 600 and 700 editions. The price is still hefty, in fact it’s $200 more than the 880, coming in at $899.99.
So what does that extra cost deliver? The built-in Wi-Fi radio will allow users to communicate with the 980 to track its cleaning, tweak settings, schedule use and monitor power levels. The approach is very similar to other popular Internet of Things devices that we use in our homes. It gives us the ability to check in while we are away and get alerts when something has gone wrong via the iOS and Android app.
iRobot has also included a new camera and packed the vacuum with sensors for its new iAdapt 2.0 navigation system. The Roomba 980 is able to create a coverage map of your entire home that it references during cleanings. A new proprietary technology called vSLAM memorizes visual landmarks to help the system remember where it has been.
Much like older models from iRobot, the 980 will use a charging base as a home. You can expect about two hours of cleaning time per use. If the vacuum runs out of juice it will return to its home and then clean again once it is recharged. iRobot has made a serious effort to take the frustration and guesswork out of cleaning and using its vacuums. By adding features like Wi-Fi connectivity and cloud-based management, Roomba joins the ever expanding list of smart home appliances.
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