Here it is, in all its glory, the Roomba dirty-floored robotic vacuum enthusiasts all over were eagerly awaiting. After years of waiting for a truly smart take on the much-loved Roomba line, iRobot has finally delivered in the form of the 980, the Massachusetts company's first Wi-Fi-enabled 'bot.
The key here is bringing Roomba's signature simplicity to the Internet of things, letting users control the plucky little household 'bot remotely via iOS and Android devices. Unlike the newly announced Wi-Fi robot from Neato, however, there's no manual control here.
Granted, that takes a bit of the fun out of a smartphone remote, but there's something to be said for limiting the controls to one big smartphone button that simply says Clean. At the very least, you really know what you're getting yourself into with the iRobot Home App.
There's more to it than that, of course. Users can also schedule home cleanings up to seven times a week and can monitor the status of the cleaner and the robot's filters. I know mine's about two years overdue for a change – if only I had some sort of mobile app to let me know for sure.
The Wi-Fi's not the only new thing. The Roomba's also got new adaptive naviation and a built-in camera to better visualize its surroundings, so it isn't just zigzagging randomly like past versions. Sadly, we didn't get to check out the robot in an environment conducive to truly checking out the new feature, but we're told we'll get to take one for a spin on our own turf soon enough.
The Roomba 980 is available now through iRobot's site and at retail partners for the low, low price of $900.