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More Roombas are getting WiFi, so you can control your robot vacuum remotely

When iRobot announced its new Roomba 980 back in 2015, its biggest selling point was that it was the company’s first WiFi-connected robot vacuum cleaner, which meant you could control and monitor it from a smartphone app. The downside was clearly its price: $899. Even when iRobot rolled out a slightly cheaper model, the Roomba 960, you were still looking at a $700 vacuum cleaner.

So these will seem like a steal in comparison: today Massachusetts-based iRobot said it was releasing two new WiFi-connected Roomba models, the Roomba 890 and the Roomba 690. The 690 model goes on sale today and costs $375. Pricing hasn’t been revealed yet for the 890 model, which ships later this year, but given that it’s an 800 series Roomba it’s likely to be less expensive than the 900-series models.

There are some differences between the new Roomba 890 and 690 — the Roomba 890, for example, has “tangle-free” rubber extractors and a newer motor that’s supposedly five times more powerful than the motor on earlier Roombas — but both will now work with iRobot’s mobile app, called Home. This means you can schedule the Roomba, get notifications, and keep tabs on its cleaning cycles from the app, as opposed to having to schedule your Roomba on the Roomba itself or use a clunky remote control while you are in the presence of said robot. What a time to be alive.

WiFi-connected robot vacuums are becoming more and more common, with products like the Neato BotVac Connected, the Dyson 360 Eye, and Samsung’s Powerbot VR7000 all offering compatible mobile apps. All WiFi-connected Roombas now work with Amazon’s Alexa, too, which means you can talk to your Roomba, provided you have an Echo speaker, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap.

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