The latest batch of 1,000 Japanese-speaking Pepper robots sold out in one minute after they were made available online by Japanese telecom company SoftBank. This brings the total Pepper robots sold thus far to at least 7,000. A new batch of 1,000 will go on sale 28 November.
This will be the 6th batch of Pepper bots to go on sale since the launch in June, 2015. Priced at $1,636 for the robot plus $200 per month for the online service and maintenance contract, and only available in Japan at the present time, there are about 200 apps available for the device. These apps range from quiz games, English picture books, hairstyle and clothing chat games, timers, dance instruction, lie detection, brain games, exercise trainers, animal sounds, food apps like beef bowl and noodle shop locators, piano playing, baseball talking, English for kids and many more.
Foxconn is a partner with Alibaba and SoftBank, in a new venture called SoftBank Robotics. Foxconn is also the manufacturer. Foxconn started to produce Pepper robots in February, churning out five per hour. Currently, the hourly production has risen to 10 units and they are planning to further boost production to 15 units per hour by raising the number of workers on the production lines to 1,000 from the current 700 and employing automation in the production process. Depending on how many hours they work, they could be producing up to 2,000 Peppers a week at that rate.
SoftBank hasn’t announced when they plan to release Chinese- or English-speaking Pepper bots except to say sometime in 2016.