updated 10:25 am EDT, Wed September 3, 2008
iRobot Roomba Pet and Pro
iRobot today rolled out two extra Roomba vacuum robots targeted at specific subsets of its normal audience. The Pet Series adjusts the components inside the robot to focus more on catching pet hair as well as the dander that often triggers allergies. Each now has an extra set of brushes and holds much more in the sweeping bin than usual to catch the material that might quickly fill up a normal robot; the counter-rotating brushes are claimed to be good for picking up material either from carpet or hard floors.
The Roomba 532 is the base model with enough power to clean three rooms, two virtual wall transmitters to help guide the robot, and a charging dock for the Roomba to return to at the end of its work. A higher-end 562 edition has enough longevity to last for an extra room and supports scheduling to start cleaning on its own. iRobot says both Roombas should be available today and sell for $349 and $399 respectively.
The electronics firm has also kicked off a new line in the form of the Roomba Professional Series. This also has the larger sweeping bin but changes the feature set to cater to workshops, large homes and other areas where a large surface might need to be cleaned all at once. A new Max Mode pushes the robot to clean as much as possible rather than to limit itself to a set number of rooms; it also comes in a slightly tougher design with extra brushes, filters, and cleaning tools to keep the Roomba effective and clean. iRobot sells just one model, the Roomba 610, for $599.