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Pepper the Robot gets increased access for Android developers ahead of its US launch

TechCrunch TechCrunch 19/05/2016 Brian Heater

SoftBank is starting to ramp things up ahead of the US launch of its friendly and versatile humanoid robot, Pepper. After holding down a factotum of service industry jobs in and around Japan and Europe, the company announced this week at Google I/O that the ‘bot is being opened more widely to developers.

The news brings with it Android compatibility for the robot, so developers can utilize their knowledge of Google’s mobile operating system to create applications for the robot courtesy of the  Pepper SDK for Android Studio.

The company is also launching a Developer Portal for the feel-good robot, compiling all of the relevant documentation, software and forums into a single destination. And SoftBank will be holding some sessions at I/O this week to help ramp developers up for Pepper’s upcoming launch.

All of that will be preceded by the launch of a Pepper developer model, which goes up for pre-sale starting next month. As for the full US launch, that’s presently slated for “later this year,” though Pepper is currently on-sale in Japan, priced at JPY 198,000 (around $1,800).

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