From The Road: Sony’s Rolly… Not Quite A Robot, Just Barely A Speaker

Sony Rolly (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

After a multi-month renovation my local Sony Store was just reborn as the ‘Sony Style’ store. At the grand re-opening there was the usual hoopla with Sony reps giving demos of various products which gave me my first chance to spend some real one-on-one time with the Rolly. I can’t say I was disappointed, because quite frankly I wasn’t expecting much, but I’m having trouble seeing why someone would pay $400 for one. When you see it rolling it around with the flaps moving about you might think the Rolly was being positioned as a sort of interactive musical companion, but it’s just not. While the Rolly’s dance moves can be synced to whatever music it’s playing (or streaming) or even custom programmed on a PC, that’s about as interactive as it gets. A few store patrons seemed to think it was a robot along the lines of Aibo based on how it was moving about, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So I guess we should just think of the Rolly as a ‘funky’ set of speakers right? Well unfortunately that was the one area where I can say I was disappointed. The Rolly is about the size of a soda can, so when you consider that has to fit a 5 hour battery, the motors to drive the ‘wheels’ and other electronic components, there’s not much room left for the speakers. As a result I was definitely unimpressed with the Rolly’s sound quality, and I don’t think I’d want to spend 5 hours listening to my music through Rolly’s speakers. As a party gimmick it might be cool for a few minutes, but I think there are far better ways to blow $400.