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IRobot makes robots that vacuum. IRobot makes robots that mop. Different corporations make robots that vacuum Y scrub. So why does not iRobot do it? Should you had requested the corporate that query just some weeks in the past, you in all probability would have gotten a normal reply about not doing one thing till you are able to do it proper.

Clearly, the reply is a little more nuanced. For one factor, iRobot does kind of a two-in-one, at the least. Factor is, A) it is solely out there in Europe and B) it is apparently lower than the corporate’s exacting requirements on the subject of this kind of factor, one thing co-founder and CEO Colin Angle admitted in a dialog with TechCrunch final week.

Picture credit: I robotic

“The shopper could be very excited in regards to the comfort of a two-in-one robotic, so we would have liked to construct one,” says the manager. “However being iRobot, we actually wanted to construct one, as a substitute of doing it in a means that did not ship on the promise. Proper now, most two-in-one robots are actually one plus one.” Embrace the aforementioned Roomba on that record.

The opposite attention-grabbing wrinkle in all of that is iRobot’s lengthy historical past with robotic mops. The Scooba line dates again to 2006. The product was basically a Roomba that traded within the waste bag for clear and soiled water tanks. It was discontinued after a decade, following iRobot’s acquisition of Evolution Robotics. That firm’s Mint robotic, which used a pad to scrub flooring, ultimately turned Braava.

Picture credit: I robotic

At present, iRobot introduced the Roomba Combo j7+, the primary Roomba (with one notable exception) to deliver a two-in-one mop and vacuum to the favored product line. Because the prolonged title suggests, the brand new providing relies on the identical {hardware} as the usual j7. The “+” refers back to the dump dock, whereas the “Combo” refers back to the scrub performance. Given the naming conference, it seems to be just like the “Combo” characteristic will make its solution to further entries within the Roomba lineup, sooner or later.

The mop performance makes use of an arm that lowers a Braava-style pad to the ground and lifts it flush on high of the robotic for protected storage and to keep away from dragging the mop throughout the carpet. Amongst different issues, the system’s built-in intelligence is ready to distinguish between carpet/hardwood rugs/tile/linoleum.

Picture credit: I robotic

The footprint of the robotic is barely bigger than that of the usual j7, partly to offer further house for the water tank. In the mean time, the dock cannot robotically empty the tank, just like the vacuum container does, although it seems to be one thing the corporate is engaged on.

As you’ve got little doubt guessed, none of this comes low-cost. The j7+ Combo is obtainable for pre-order right this moment, priced at $1,099. It begins delivery on October 4 and also will be out there with out the bin+ bundle.

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Finally, a Roomba that vacuums and mops • TechCrunch