Aibo learns to be a better watchdog

I wanted to love the new Aibo. Really, I did. But once I actually spent some time with it, it turned out that it was a $3,000 dog with only a handful of tricks. It seems the days of buying true robot dog companionship are still a long ways away.

A few months after bringing the pup to market, Sony’s announced a few updates that should rekindle some interest. First, there’s a new paint job. Aibo now comes in Choco Edition — a dark brown and bronze edition that makes it look a bit more like a real dog. That version is going to cost the same as its white-coated counterpart.

More importantly, Aibo’s finally set to learn a few new tricks. Most notable among them is the addition of a security package that utilizes on-board sensors to keep your home safe. It’s one of the features the company suggested early on, making use of the dog’s face tracking and 3D mapping technology.

In Japan, the deal comes courtesy of a partnership with home security firm Secom. Like everything else in Aibo land, however, it will cost you — in this case, an additional $13.50 a month for paw patrol. All of this likely isn’t enough to get too many people on board with the robot, given the price point, but at least Sony’s sticking to its promise of supporting the pup.