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Saturday, September 29, 2007


Video : Pleo meets the public! - Webisode 5

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The fifth and newest video in the Ugobe "Behind The Scenes" series is up on Pleo World now. In this Webisode we get to see Pleo interacting with people on a busy street in the city. They pet and play with Pleo and are generally astonished by the adorable baby dinosaur brought to life by Ugobe. The best scene by far is of a young woman cradling Pleo in her arms like a baby and saying loudly "Look how cute!", although the short footage of a dog interacting with Pleo is huge fun too.

The newest face in the video is that of Tyler Wilson, Ugobe's Software Manager. He introduces the term "Life O/S", which refers to the operating system that forms the open architecture at the heart of Pleo. This architecture or platform will allow all of us to add to the Pleo experience by doing things such as creating our own sounds and behaviors for Pleo. Caleb Chung, Ugobe co-founder and inventor, uses the famous story of the soldiers that come to a town and make
"Stone Soup" as a way to illustrate this concept. He makes the intriguing statement:
"What better way to evolve a life form than to open the architecture to all of you."
Chief Technology Officer John Sosoka is in the video too of course, and talks about how Pleo's internal emotions or drives will affect how she reacts to you. For example, if Pleo is hungry when you scratch her chin she may reject the touch and mewl for food. If she is happy, she might playfully wag her tail instead. It is wonderful to know that despite the fact Pleo will be amazing right from the start when she reaches your home, the baby dinosaur made real will get even more fun and interesting as time goes by. Click here to watch the video now.

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Friday, September 14, 2007


New Pleo Video - "The Evolution Of The Pleo Puzzle"

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Brand new Webisode is now up on Pleo World. This episode features:

It's about 2 1/2 minutes long. In the first 40 seconds you get to see some kids playing with Pleo and more brief footage of Pleo in action. The rest of the video goes into some of the difficult engineering challenges that Ugobe has overcome in making Pleo. My favorite quote is when Dave Page says in effect that engineers love it when you tell them something is impossible. Which is exactly what we want them to do; to give us our very own blue eyed baby dinosaur.

The video also shows footage of the new battery pack and external charger and how it fits into Pleo's belly which you will see near the 2 minute mark.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Pleo Battery Now Removable. Slight Shipping Delay.

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During pre-production testing of Pleo, Ugobe discovered that the baby dino was not charging properly which led to a reduction in play time. This meant that you would not be able to play with Pleo for a full hour between charges. Instead of rushing Pleo out the door to meet their deadline, Ugobe is doing the hard thing and delaying Pleo slightly to fix the problem. Despite the shipping delay, Pleo will still be available by the all important holiday season this year; a critical fact for those of you who preordered Pleo or will be buying Pleo as a gift. Those of you on Ugobe's update mailing have received an E-mail by now explaining this development. The letter comes direct from Pleo inventor and Ugobe cofounder Caleb Chung.

There is a wonderful piece of news embedded in this announcement. An enhancement to Pleo that will delight those of you who requested it; including many of Pleo's play testers. Pleo will now have a removable battery pack and an external charger. This will allow you to play with Pleo for hours now, as long as you have a freshly charged battery pack handy to replace the exhausted one. This extends Pleo's play time far beyond the original one hour.

The Personal Touch

I need to share with you something that took place behind the scenes of this development. I received a personal call from Bob Christopher explaining this delay. You need to understand that I am just a small time blogger; albeit one who really loves Pleo. Still, I am not a major player like tech luminary Lance Ulanoff of PC Magazine, or a even a major gadget web site like Engadget, Gizmodo, SlashGear, BotJunkie, or i4u. I'm not even close to being in their league. I'm just a programmer writing a blog in my off hours about an artificial pet that I am enchanted with.

To have the CEO of the Ugobe, the company that is about to release the hottest robotic toy ever, to call me directly, is a testament to the integrity and sincere passion of the people behind Pleo. Ugobe is a class act and this only further strengthens my belief in them and Pleo. Am I disappointed that I'll have to wait a little longer for Pleo? Yes! But I am delighted that I'll be able to play with Pleo for more than an hour and since I'll still get him by the holidays, I feel it is worth the wait.

Here is the complete text of Caleb's E-mail:

Dear Pleo™ Fans,

During pre-production testing, the UGOBE™ team encountered some significant problems with Pleo's battery life. We solved these problems in a way that I think you will appreciate: all Pleos, including First Hatch Pleos, are now designed to have an easily removable battery and an external charger for the battery. That means that with multiple batteries and chargers, you can keep Pleo going for hours on end. However, implementing this design change will delay production. We are working hard to make sure everyone who has ordered a Pleo will receive one by the holidays.

I know how much you are looking forward to having Pleo in your life so I know this delay is frustrating. At the same time, I hope that you are as excited as I am about this design change. I'll post some video or photos soon, so you can see it yourself. Your enthusiasm for Pleo continues to be an inspiration as we work through these challenges to deliver the life form we've all been waiting for.

We'll update you in a few weeks - as soon as we know more about when we can ship. If you have any questions, take a look at the FAQs below. And make sure to stop by to see our new webisodes and participate in forum discussions.

Caleb Chung


Q: How does the external battery and charger work with Pleo?

A: The battery goes in the same place in Pleo as before (his belly), except that now it is designed to be removed easily and frequently. Once removed, the battery is charged in the external charger, then placed back in Pleo once fully charged.

Q: Why did you change to the external charger design?

A: As we neared production, we encountered some difficulties with Pleos charging consistently. Combined with the input you have given us about wanting multiple batteries that were easy to remove and charge, we decided that solving our charging problems and answering the call for an external charger was paramount.

Q: Why are you delaying shipment?

A: In pre-production testing we encountered problems getting Pleo to charge correctly. Implementing design changes to resolve the charging issue has led to the delay. We're working hard to make sure everyone who has ordered a Pleo will receive one by Christmas time.

Q: What do you mean when you say that Pleo will arrive "by the holidays"?

A: Integrating the necessary changes into the Pleo design has pushed back production, and we are unable to ship Pleo in October as planned. However, you will receive your Pleo by Christmas time. We felt it was best to let you know of the delay as soon as possible.

Q. Can I still order a Pleo and receive it before Christmas?

A: After the success with pre-orders, has completely sold out of Pleos, however our retail partners still have Pleo allocations available.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007


Pleo Dinosaur - Laughter Begins At Home!

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I came across this photograph of Ugobe CEO Bob Christopher and inventor and co-founder Caleb Chung hamming it up for the camera with Pleo. Here's the two of them with an early Pleo prototype pretending that Pleo is a lot hungrier than he or she should be! It just goes to show you that Pleo's playful and comical spirit starts at home. Ugobe's home that is. Click on the photograph to see it full screen. This photograph was taken when they made a Pleo related announcement at a news conference in Taipei in December of 2006.

Note: Pleo is not capable of really biting anyone; just a friendly and playful finger nibble at most. Also, the Pleo shown is a very old Pleo, before they gave Pleo beautiful new skin, eyes, and body contours.

-- from Keye Chang - (?)

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Sunday, September 02, 2007


Pleo - New Webisode : "John Sosoka and The Science Of Collboration"

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The newest episode or Webisode of Ugobe's video series, "The Making Of Pleo", has just been posted on the Pleo World web site. Titled "John Sosoka and The Science Of Colloboration", it shows John and several other core Ugobe development team members making magic in the Ugobe Labs. Starring in order of appearance:
It's a peek into a modern day wonderland with many Pleo's dotting the labs landscape in the background of the video; while the Ugobeans pridefully describe the amazing technologies involved in making Pleo's personality and body. There is one scene which I hope will someday be explained where Pleo appears to have a muzzle on him, shaped in the form of a red cord or rubber band, at the 1 minute and 49 second mark into the video. Did Pleo say something naughty or eat one of the chips on the table? In any case, here's another tasty video morsel to tide us over as we await delivery of our very own Pleos.

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