Today for review I’ve got something a little different, it’s not exactly mobile related but it is social related. A lot of the stuff we post on Mobility Digest is social networking related and news feeds etc so I thought this might fit in there somewhere. So what I have to review is the Karotz Smart Rabbit, it’s basically a robot but it’s much more than that as it can be your little friend on your desk. The Karotz can help you all day long by keeping you updated with newsfeeds, the weather, your friends tweets, Facebook updates and even keeping you entertained by singing to you. Well not exactly singing to you, but it can play your MP3 music files. It’s an internet connected device as you might have guessed, but it also respond to voice commands and you can use the special Flatnanoz which have RFID chips embedded in them to activate apps. So read on to learn more and say hello to my little friend…..
Author: Kristofer Brozio
Overall Rating: 4/5
Karotz Smart Rabbit
An ideal, handsome, kind, funny and educated companion. Karotz speaks, sees, listens, obeys and wiggles his ears! He is ready to do anything to serve and entertain you!
-Make free calls with Karotz.
-Make the Internet tell you about all the things you want to know: weather, news, sports, arts, horoscope, TV guide… and all the RSS feeds that you could want.
-Follow your friends’ Facebook status and Tweets.
-Keep an eye on your home and family: See what’s going on and be alerted whenever someone enters your house.
-Listen to your favorite music (MP3, Internet radio, podcasts) and wake up to music!
-Play and learn with Karotz: Discover available applications for playing, reading or learning a language with Karotz.
Karotz technical specifications:
-Arm 9 Processor, 400 MHz, 64 MB RAM
-256 MB Flash Memory
-1 USB 1.1 port
-1 mini-USB port
-360 rotating ears
-Removable ears (magnetic)
-1 push button
-4 languages: French, English, German, Spanish
What’s in the Box?
The box is very nice looking, and it’s actually a slipcover style box.
Inside of the second box is a styrofoam cube with all of the parts in it.
When you unpack everything you’ll find a pack of instructions, two Flatanozs, two ears, USB cable and power supply.
The power supply or AC adapter is world ready so you can take your Karotz anywhere you go.
Included with the instructions you’ll find a special sheet of stickers.
The USB cable is white and has a mini-USB connection on it.
Here’s the two Flatanozs, they’re little rabbits that have RFID chips in them.
They have little pictures on them for the weather and for traffic but you can program them to whatever you want.
The ears for the Karotz magnetically attach to the rabbit.
Here’s my little friend without the ears attached. karotz doesn’t really have a mouth as you can see, but she has eyes and a nose and at the very bottom a camera built-in. Karotz is plastic of course, and for what it is it seems well made.
On the top of Karotz is a single multi-use button and the microphone. You can see here how the ears attach as well.
On the back you’ll see the speaker, volume/power knob and a USB port.
Here’s a closer look at the bottom, inset beneath the regular USB port is the mini-USB port.
Then here’s the actual bottom for you where you’ll see the power connection which can be replaced with a battery pack to take your Karotz with you and an accessory slot for future use.
On the bottom, beneath the camera is a slider to adjust the viewing angle.
Then here’s my Karotz all put together, well with the ears anyway:
Violet was also kind enough to send me a tail for my rabbit which is actually a SUB drive.
USB tail (4 GB)
Karotz is no ordinary rabbit – his tail can hold musical files (MP3, OGG, etc.)! Store your favorite tunes on this 4 GB USB flash drive and plug it into Karotz’s back. Your rabbit will play your favorite music on your command.
Here it is, it’s just a a round piece of plastic with a USB connection on it.
Impressions / Review:
Karotz has a few LEDs in her tummy, yes my Karotz is a girl and I like it that way. The LEDs are essentially status lights, I’m not going to go through all of them but blinking green essentially means that it’s ready.
You get your Karotz setup by logging into the Karotz website and downloading your setting and transferring them to a USB drive. I used the tail for this, essentially the drive contains updated firmware along with your wi-fi settings and some basic apps to get you started.
The tail can also be used for music, just drop your files on it and let Karotz sing to you. You control the music by moving the ears, rotate the ear forward and the next track will play, rotate back and the previous track will play. It’s rather cool I think.
On the Karotz website you’ll need to create an account and from there you can control your rabbit. On the main page you’ll see what apps you have installed and what Flatanoz you have working.
The Karotz does have a limited amount of space and you can just visit the control panel to see how much you have left. You can name your Karotz and even set it to wake at a certain time.
From the site you can program the RFID chips in your Flatanoz too, just pick an app to set it too. You use the Flatanoz by just waving it in front of Karotz nose. The RFID chips work fine from my experience, just a simply wave and it activates. Sometimes it takes a couple tries, but you just have to learn the exact spot to wave the Flatanoz to make it work.
On the app store you’ll find both free and paid apps that are sorted by categories like you’d expect.
Once you install the apps they are controlled by voice command that for some of them you can set manually.
To use voice command you just push the button on the top of your Karotz and in a second her tummy will turn orange meaning she’s listening to you. The voice recognition is very much hit and miss, more miss actually, it needs a lot of work. Some of the things work perfectly the first time then some others will take four, fix or six times and some of them take more than that. The voice recognition is pretty bad for a lot of thing honestly.
You can also use the Karotz to make phone calls to others that own a Karotz and the calls are free. My friend Tom has a Karotz and we couldn’t get it to work, we tried many times and it just wouldn’t connect. We tried numerous times and it just wouldn’t work. It sounds like a neat feature, too bad…
One the cooler aspects of the Karotz is the is that you can use an Android app to control it and even take pictures or use it as a security webcam. On the right side you’ll see icons for what you can do with your Karotz.
The first is simple, you can make Karotz ears move just by swiping the screen with your finger.
You can play music with your Karotz by putting MP3 files on the tail or other USB drive, and then control it with the touch screen instead of manually with the ears.
One of the really cool things you can do is make your Karotz say things just by typing it in. It works perfectly too.
The camera is neat but it’s not a live view, you can save the pictures to your phone or send them via email or several other ways.
The pictures you get aren’t great honestly, but if you were using it like a nanny cam or security camera you could make out faces and see what’s going on.
The Karotz can do plenty of things I didn’t mention here but I’ve covered the basics. I could go on and on, but this is pretty long as is I think.
The Karotz is certainly a unique little gadget that can be useful and lots of fun really. My kids just love it, especially my six year old, he wants to use it every morning to have it tell the weather for the day. If you have kids they’ll just love it. The Karotz though can be a helpful desktop companion as it can read RSS feeds to you, let you know the traffic or weather and even keep you entertained.
The Karotz isn’t exactly perfect though as it relies on voice commands and they don’t work too well.
+Cool little device
+Kids love it
+Can be useful
+Fairly easy to use overall
+Karotz is supported with firmware updates
-Voice recognition could be better
-Pictures not the greatest