Amazon's Astro is the ultimate test of whether we really need home robots

From CNET: Astro, Amazon's first home robot, burst onto the stage at the company's fall event on Tuesday and immediately stole the show. The newest addition to Amazon's lineup of doorbells, speakers and security cameras came as a surprise, even though Astro's development has been long rumored.

We shouldn't let this element of surprise deflect from the fact that Amazon is just the latest in a long line of companies, including fellow tech giants LG and Samsung, to bring a home robot out on stage.

In spite of this, most of us still don't have robots in our homes, except maybe for the kind that vacuum our floors. Amazon is hoping to change that, but its ambitions leave a lot resting on Astro's gently sloping shoulders. The company believes it can persuade us to part with our cash and earn a place in our hearts and homes where others have failed. It's a big unproven hope.

Nearly all major technology companies are making big pushes in artificial intelligence and making a bet that virtual assistants and other smart products are how we'll interact with our gadgets in the future. Rather than swiping on our phone screens, we'll talk to ever-listening microphones around our homes or offices -- including the ones inside robots like Astro.

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