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New iRobot Roomba Vacuum Will Steer Clear Of Cables, Pet Waste

Looking to stay ahead of the competition, iRobot (IRBT) on Thursday introduced a new model Roomba robot vacuum cleaner that can identify and avoid hazards like charging cables and pet waste. IRobot stock rose on the news.




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The new robot, Roomba J7, is smarter than its predecessors. It identifies obstacles with its vision system and cleans around them. The robot also responds to specific voice commands about where and when to clean. Plus, it continuously learns and updates its internal map with the location of new furniture and rooms.

The Roomba J7 uses iRobot Genius 3.0 Home Intelligence software. The new software allows it to learn your preferences or “house rules,” iRobot Chief Executive Colin Angle told Investor’s Business Daily. For instance, it can start cleaning automatically when you leave home and stop when you return, he said.

IRobot also redesigned the optional cleaning dock so it fits better under furniture. The dock, called the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system, empties the dirt from the robot into disposable bags, which typically need to be replaced every 60 days.

IRobot Stock Advances

In morning trading on the stock market today, iRobot stock rose 0.6%, near 82.30.

IRobot stock has had a rocky ride in 2021. In January, it surged to a record high 197.40 when it became a “meme stock.” Stock traders on social network Reddit bought up shares to squeeze short sellers, which sent iRobot stock rocketing.

Comes With ‘POOP’ Guarantee

The Roomba J7 solves two big concerns customers have, Michelle Gattuso, iRobot vice president of digital product management, told IBD. They worry about Roombas running over cables, such as phone chargers and wired headphones, and pet waste.

Also, the Roomba J7 is backed by the company’s Pet Owner Official Promise, or POOP. If the Roomba J7 doesn’t avoid solid pet waste, iRobot will replace the robot, Gattuso said.

The Roomba J7 can identify about 100 items on the floor, such as shoes and socks, Gattuso said.

The new Roomba also is gentler with walls and furniture, Gattuso said. It identifies and anticipates the objects and slows its approach, so it doesn’t bang into them, she said.

The Roomba J7 with Clean Base costs $849. It will be available in the U.S., Canada, and Europe later this month. Additional dirt disposal bags cost $19.99 for a pack of three. Without the base, the Roomba J7 costs $649.

Holiday Product Launches

IRobot is among a wave of consumer electronics companies announcing new products ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Amazon (AMZN) on Thursday announced a new lineup of connected televisions running its Fire TV operating system. Also Thursday, Sony (SONY) is holding an online event to reveal its latest PlayStation 5 video games.

On Tuesday, Apple (AAPL) is streaming an online product launch event where it is likely to reveal the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7.

IRobot stock ranks ninth out of 13 stocks in IBD’s household appliances and wares industry group, according to IBD Stock Checkup. IRobot stock has a subpar IBD Composite Rating of 34 out of 99.

IBD’s Composite Rating combines five separate proprietary ratings into one easy-to-use rating. The best growth stocks have a Composite Rating of 90 or better.

Follow Patrick Seitz on Twitter at @IBD_PSeitz for more stories on consumer technology, software and semiconductor stocks.

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