Folks in Japan might find themselves chatting with Pepper robots in business establishments these coming years. The enterprise version of the gentle-looking humanoid machine will be available for pre-order starting on October 1st, 2015, and businesses in the country can rent one directly from SoftBank. The carrier's robotics division is offering a $444-per-month, 3-year contract to interested parties, which means they'll end up paying around $16,000 within that period. Sadly, they'll have to return the unit once the contract's over.
Pepper for Biz isn't that much different from the base version, which sold out in under a minute after it went up for sale in June. It still can't do any manual labor and can't help out around the house or the office. All its pre-installed applications are related to "office reception" -- it can talk to customers and save their information -- so it's most likely ideal for companies who want to use it for customer service. While both versions of Pepper are only available in Japan at the moment, business owners Stateside who want a cute robot receptionist may want to cross their fingers. Alibaba and Foxconn invested $236 million in SoftBank Robotics last month, and they plan to release Pepper internationally.
[Image credit: kirainet/Flickr]