Marketing Currents - Business and Marketing Current Events

Amazon’s Astro home robot is ‘Alexa on wheels’—and much more


“Alexa, ask Astro to come in here.”

I’m sitting on a couch in a simulated living room at Amazon’s Lab126 product R&D lab in Sunnyvale, California. Amazon VP of products Charlie Tritschler, who has been describing the company’s new home robot to me, is summoning the bot from another room, where it’s been biding its time before making an appearance.

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Discussion Questions:

  1. What is innovation?
  2. Why do you think innovation is important in business?
  3. How might this news story represent an example of innovation?
  4. Why do you think Amazon would want to develop a robot?
  5. What types of things do you think they considered when developing this product?
  6. How much is Amazon planning to charge for the robot?
  7. Why do you think they are offering such a significant discount right now, despite selling the product by invitation-only?
  8. Based on information from this story, describe what Amazon’s new robot product can do.
  9. In addition to generating revenue through sales, do you think Amazon has any other motivation for developing a robot?
  10. How might Amazon’s early approach to selling the new product ultimately help for a larger, more widespread product launch in the future?
  11. Do you think robots will become common products in U.S. households in the next three years? Five years? Ten? Be prepared to discuss your answers in class.
Chris Lindauer
After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.