Sunday, 03 September 2017 09:23

Ecovacs robot vacuum cleaner really sucks, coming to Oz soon


Showcased at IFA 2017 in Berlin, Ecovacs Robotics is pre-empting its imminent Australian launch by launching the Deebot Ozmo 610, and Google Home enabled Ozmo 930.

Oh, Ecovacs. My straight up joke when thinking of robot vacuum cleaners is that it “sucks to be you,” which in your case, is quite literal and one of your major selling points! I know, I know, it has been used since the dawn of vacuum cleaners, but I can't help myself with a Dad-style joke on Father's Day (even though that role yet eludes me).

Now, I’ve never heard of Ecovacs before, but hey, that’s the reason why you’re sucking up to the Australian media, in the hopes that you’ll clean up your reputation by solidly establishing it ahead of your local launch, whereby Aussie dirt and dust is hereby warned to watch out, as Ecovacs is smartly coming for you.

And, that’s a great segue into the fact that IFA 2017’s theme this year is “Smart Living”, which was presumably a smart way to ensure people think of home technologies and home robots as faithful helpers and friends, rather than future Terminator-like enemies hoping to suck our souls into SkyNet’s systems.

Ecovacs had an impressive range of cleaning robots on display at its stand, with the two standouts being the “DEEBOT OZMO 610 and Google Home-enabled DEEBOT OZMO 930,” which will launch in Australia “later this year”.

That date has to be relatively soon, because there’s not much more of 2017 left, and if you want to actually suck up some Christmas and end-of-year shopping-season profits, launching in the next two-or-so months is critical, lest profits end up being sucked away by Dyson, cheap K-Mart Dyson clones, Godfreys, Kogan suck sticks and whoever else is out there trying to clean up from the cleaning business.

So, the big question is, just how much do the Deebots suck?

It would have to be an excellent sucker to have any hope of vacuuming up the hearts, minds and wallet-contents of consumers, so what does Ecovacs say Deebot’s Ozmo technology can do – and how can we be sure the Deebot does not turn into a robotic Despot?

Well, naturally we start off with the statement that Ozmo technology improves floor cleaning results. This is a key statement, because if we were being told that Ozmo technology improved egg boiling times, or microwave oven efficiency, or your car’s fuel milage, then something would be wrong.

Thankfully, it is only my imagination which has gone astray, with Ecovacs telling us that “whether the floor surface is parquet, laminate or tiled, the DEEBOT OZMO 610 and DEEBOT OZMO 930 are equipped with OZMO technology, which is designed to sweep and mop entire floor surfaces in one easy to manage step".

Further detail is necessary, and is supplied with the statement that “this is made possible by an extra-large, electronically controlled water tank that moistens a washable cloth during the cleaning process. Depending on the degree of cleaning required, the amount of water dispensed can be adjusted manually via an easy to use Ecovacs Robotics app".

Here's the Deebot Ozmo 610: 

Aha! Robot control, controlled by humans! This is the kind of robot humans like to see, as opposed to T-800s and T-1000s that actually do suck very badly, as opposed to the rather excellent suckage Ecovacs is promising.

So, what does the Google Home-enabled Deebot Ozmo 930 offer to one-up its little brother?

We are told the Deebot Ozmo 930 “manages to go one step further as it recognises different floor coverings and automatically adjusts cleaning modes to suite these.

“Carpeted floors, for example, receive a burst of extra suction power to help remove even more dirt and dust than previous models. Other features such as Intelligent Surface Technology help to protect carpets and rugs by avoiding these areas during the mopping process.”

Damian Commane, Ecovacs A/NZ country manager, who is a kind of Commander Commane, commented on IFA and the imminent launch of the Ecovacs Robotics brand and its products in Australia: “IFA is a very exciting time for us, and the timing could not be better to be showcasing products such as the DEEBOT OZMO 610 and DEEBOT OZMO 930.

“With the launch of the Ecovacs Robotics brand imminent for the Australian market, this is a great way to introduce products that we anticipate will be available as well as get first-hand experience of reactions from the public.

“We have had a strong level of success globally and now it is time to realise our plans for the Australian market. We believe Australia is buoyant market and very good for early-adoption, which will be especially helpful as we introduce new technology such as OZMO to Australian consumers.

“The inclusion of OZMO technology is helping our products give back time to our customers so they can enjoy more special moments with family and friends. Our DEEBOT OZMO 930 is also Google Home enabled, which not only aligns with this year’s IFA ‘smart living’ theme, but also provides our customers with an added layer of sophistication and convenience. We believe this is a value proposition that will appeal to many Australian consumers,” said Commane.

The Deebot Ozmo 930's custom cleaning map:

Pricing and dates of availability for both Deebot Ozmo models will be announced to the Australian market in due course, which sucks because we’d like to know now, but hey - the power of anticipation is an amazing thing, and will deliver a fantastic excuse to write another article about Ecovacs in the future.

Now, to conclude, if you’ve never heard of Ecovacs like me until now, we are told that the Ecovacs Group was founded in 1998 by Qian Dongqi.

Eight years later, in 2006, Ecovacs Robotics was formed: a company specialising in the research and development, design, manufacture and distribution of household robots, expanded its operations. Under the motto "Live Smart. Enjoy Life," we are told that the aim of Ecovacs Robotics is “to offer innovative products that relieve customers of their daily housework and make life easier and more enjoyable".

This also includes robot window cleaners, which clean windows robotically (and not Microsoft's code), which weren't mentioned by Ecovacs in its media release, but which I could certainly use at home when they are finally launched in Australia, too.  

Here's the Winbot:

So, forget about robot overlords, because if Ecovacs is successful, we’ll soon have robots under foot sucking up to us big time, with the robot revolution finally starting to ratchet up a notch.

All we’ll need in the future is some of Asimov’s laws so the robotic despots of the future don’t do a clean-up job on humanity, nor suck our initiative by doing everything for us so we simply sit “With Folded Hands".

Here's the Deebot Ozmo 610 charging up:

Here's an "ambience" shot of the 930 in action: 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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