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Sony's Xperia Hello robotic assistant can now be an expensive member of your family

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Like an animated Amazon Echo for $1,300

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Sony’s new robotic assistant called the Xperia Hello is now ready for Japanese homes. The swiveling smart speaker we first saw as a prototype last year features big animated eyes and a 4.55 inch LCD in its belly. The Xperia robot runs Android and responds to voice, gestures, and facial expressions. It can also take photos, make Skype video calls, check the status of family members both inside and outside the house, provide reminders, and alert you of news, weather changes, and road traffic. And because it’s for Japan, it’s also able to send and receive messages from the very popular messaging service Line.

Hello’s price is steep though at around $1,300; a disappointment to some fans, according to The Wall Street Journal, because its main functions are similar to the Echo lineup of speakers from Amazon which sell for $100 or less.

It is cute though.

Sony says the robot can move spontaneously to simulate being a living being. To get its attention users simply call out "Hiperiaia!" (Hi Xperia!). The robot can also communicate using gestures and expressions which Sony hopes will make it feel more like a member of the family.

The Xperia Hello will ship on November 18th in Japan only, for now.