We have long been waiting for Samsung to catch up to iRobot in the field of home robotics. Finally, it seems they are ready to unveil their upcoming domestic offering in the United States…
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Introducing the Smart Tango Corner Cleaner
While this might appear to be Samsung’s first attempt to enter the market, they have had limited success already in Europe under the NaviBot brand name.
In terms of design, the Smart Tango borrows significant aesthetics from the roomba series, but promises the latest technology under the hood.
One of the most celebrated features looks to be a high-tech optics package, evidence by the camera on the front of the device….
Leading Features of the Smart Tango Vacuum
- Pop-Out Brush: At CES this Winter Samsung boasted that the Smart Tango would be featuring “world’s first pop out brush”. As you can see in the picture above, little extenders with brushes attached protrude from the disc. This is being billed as the solution for robotic vacuums’ trouble effectively cleaning corners. This is meant to target leading brands like the Roomba 700 series and Neato XV-21 which have won the hearts of many consumers, but still can’t quite clean around the baseboards and in the corners and crannies of rooms.
- Visionary Mapping System: There are not many details revealed about this yet, but Samsung is aiming to implement a more effective navigation system for robotic vacuum cleaners. This seems to be taking direct aim at the popular Roomba series from iRobot. Some users have experienced annoying problems of the unit repeatedly bumping into tables, chairs, etc… Just how “revolutionary” Samsung’s new mapping system is remains to be seen. It could either dramatically shake up the market or marginally improve the competitiveness of their Smart Tango debut.
- LCD Error Display: This is not all that revolutionary; however, error readouts on the LCD are a nice feature. This will inevitably make the system more user friendly, especially if they combine this with a glossary of errors and good customer service (like Neato Robotics has done so well).
Samsung is definitely talking a big game with the new Smart Tango offering.
It looks like they are trying to enter the U.S. market in a big way; however, there are a few concerns they will have to address in order to be competitive with most consumers. They are as follows:
- Price Point: If Samsung can undercut iRobot and Neato, the Smart Tango will immediately have one key selling point in its favor. It will need every advantage it can get in the robotic vacuum market.
- Reliability: Consumers are now more comfortable with the idea of robotic vacuum cleaners, thanks in large part to companies like Evolution Robotics (now part of iRobot), iRobot, and Neato Robotics, but much of the success of these companies has come from word of mouth. Consumers will not make this kind of investment in such a relatively young technology on a whim. Samsung will have to ultimately deliver a better product, or at least a comparable product at a better price, in order to compete.
- Navigation Isn’t Everything: Samsung’s Navibot has already been on the market in Europe for some time now. However, it has so far not lived up to its potential. Persistent problems like poor vacuum suction, trails of dirt being left behind, and power brush failure are simply not acceptable. It doesn’t matter how advanced the navigation system is; if the core vacuum does not perform like a true vacuum the whole navigation proposition is like putting lipstick on a pig.
Consider me a skeptic. I am excited that Samsung is looking to expand the market. More competition is good for home automation, but I remain skeptical that a system built on the lackluster NaviBot foundation will be able to effectively challenge the Roomba or Neato series on anything other than price.
Check back soon for more news on the Smart Tango vacuum. I will be monitoring the market closely and would love to be won over by Samsung.