BARCELONA — We expected a new, modular flagship phone from LG, and we imagined there might be a VR-related gadget in the mix — both turned out to be true — but what we didn’t expect was a robot.
Yet, that’s exactly what LG gave us here at Mobile World Congress: a ball-shaped, home-monitoring robot that you control with your phone and use it to amuse your pets, control home appliances and see what’s happening in your house.
The Rolling Bot (don’t call it a “ball,” LG reps said, but everyone did) connects to your home network via Wi-Fi and has a microphone and a speaker, an 8-megapixel camera and a laser pointer.
LG gave us several use cases — in one mode, the robot starts rolling around in a frenzy, pointing the laser dot around it and making R2D2-style noises, which should make your cat less bored while you’re away.
The one usage scenario I liked the most, though, was the surveillance aspect. The Rolling Bot has a decent camera, and you can see what the robot sees as you control it with your smartphone — pretty nifty if you want to check if you left the fridge open.
The version we saw was just a prototype, and there’s no info on pricing and availability, though LG said prices for all the gadgets it showed us (and it showed a lot) are going to be “reasonable.“