Tue, Feb. 10, 7:25 PM
- Jetsons fans and haters of lawn maintenance work rejoice: iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) has petitioned the FCC (.pdf) to waive a rule prohibiting the use of fixed wireless infrastructure, so that it can "obtain equipment certification for and market a robotic lawn mower."
- Product development is still in its early stages. The mower will be battery-powered, and rely on portable beacons in the yard that will "transmit to the robot to map out and stay within the designated mowing area."
- Looking to temper safety concerns, iRobot promises its robotic mower "will reduce deaths and injuries related to lawn mowing, will reduce emissions and noise pollution, and will improve quality of life."
- Investors can hope the product will also improve iRobot's top line: The Roomba maker is less than a week removed from providing soft Q1 and full-year sales guidance.
- Meanwhile, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Boston Dynamics defense robot unit (acquired in 2013) is showing off Spot, a 160-pound robotic dog that can walk, trot, climb steps, and (judging by a video clip) stay on its feet after being kicked.
Thu, Feb. 5, 9:12 AM
Wed, Feb. 4, 5:35 PM
Wed, Feb. 4, 4:24 PM
- iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) is guiding for Q1 revenue of $114M-$117M and EPS of $0.08-$0.10, below a consensus of $133.8M and $0.27. Full-year guidance is for revenue of $625M-$635M and EPS of $1.25-$1.45, mostly below a consensus of $643.1M and $1.44.
- The company notes overseas home robot growth will be "tempered" by macro and forex issues. Home robot sales are expected to rise 11%-13% in 2015 (mid-teens in U.S.), and defense/security robot sales are expected to grow for the first time since 2011.
- Q4 home robot sales +24% Y/Y to $134.1M. Defense/security robots +48% to $24.1M.
- Gross margin rose to 47.9% from 46.6% a year ago (helped EPS beat estimates in spite of the revenue miss). GAAP operating expenses rose 17% to $63.6M (compares with 26% rev. growth). $1.7M was spent on buybacks.
- Shares are down to $29.75 AH, putting them right near a 52-week low of $29.73. JPMorgan's downgrade was well-timed.
- Q4 results, PR
Wed, Feb. 4, 4:04 PM
Tue, Feb. 3, 5:35 PM
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Wed, Jan. 14, 12:01 PM
- JPMorgan has downgraded iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) to Underweight ahead of its Feb. 4 Q4 report, and cut its target by $4 to $34. The Roomba maker is now less than $1.50 removed from its 52-week low of $29.73.
- CFO Alison Dean presents at 3:30PM ET today at a Needham conference (webcast). Samsung introduced a new robot vacuum cleaner (the POWERbot VR9000) last week at CES.
Dec. 19, 2014, 7:27 AM
Nov. 20, 2014, 9:51 AM
- Canaccord has launched coverage on robot vendors iRobot (IRBT +1.3%) and Adept Technology (ADEP +4.9%), as well as 3D measurement/imaging device maker FARO Technologies (FARO +1.9%), with Buy ratings. Its targets are respectively $45, $11, and $65.
- Separately, Adept has announced the hiring of Michael Jellen, formerly a Danaher exec, to be its VP for North America.
Oct. 22, 2014, 9:19 AM| 1 Comment
Oct. 21, 2014, 5:38 PM
Oct. 21, 2014, 5:18 PM
- With expectations depressed going into earnings iRobot's (NASDAQ:IRBT) strong Q3 beat is overshadowing its soft Q4 outlook: The Roomba maker expects revenue of $158M-$167M and EPS of $0.26-$0.31, below a consensus of $167.8M and $0.35.
- A 31% Y/Y increase in U.S. home robot sales to $46.8M (much better growth than Q2's 7%) fueled the Q3 beat. International home robot sales rose 13% to $85.2M, after growing 19% in Q2. Defense/security robot sales rose 6% to $10.7M, a sharp reversal from Q2's 59% drop.
- 573K home robots were shipped, up from 565K in Q2 and 526K a year ago. Home robot ASP rose to $573 from $565 in Q2 and $526 a year ago.
- Gross margin rose to 47.3% from 44.4% in Q2 and 43.4% a year ago. GAAP opex rose 5% Y/Y to $45.2M.
- Over 1/4 of the float was shorted as of Sep. 30, providing plenty of fuel for a squeeze.
- Q3 results, PR
Oct. 21, 2014, 4:03 PM
Oct. 20, 2014, 5:35 PM
Oct. 20, 2014, 1:51 PM
- Ahead of tomorrow's Q3 report, Needham has cut its iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) target by $2 to $41, albeit while reiterating a Buy.
- Meanwhile, the robot maker announced this morning it has received a $7.6M order from the U.S. Navy to provide upgrades and spares for 46 robots used for explosive ordinance disposal. The deliveries are expected to be finished by Q2 2015.
- Previous: iRobot's Android-based robot control system draws attention
Oct. 12, 2014, 1:31 PM
- iRobot's (NASDAQ:IRBT) uPoint MRC controller consists of an Android tablet running a proprietary app that can control the company's defense/security robots. Supported features include a virtual joystick to handle steering, autonomous driving modes, video recording, and the ability to quickly switch from controlling one robot to another.
- The WSJ observes various uPoint MRC features mesh with the Pentagon's interest in "robots that can steer and perform tasks themselves through tricky environments such as urban conflict zones or the sites of natural disasters," even if the controlled robots are still far removed from being fully autonomous.
- Like several other fields where the use of A.I./deep learning algorithms are driving tech advances, Google has shown a major interest in robotics. Last fall, the Web giant bought Boston Dynamics, a maker of advanced military robots (much larger than iRobot's offerings) that rely on algorithms and sensor-based controls to navigate difficult terrain and hit speeds nearing 30 mph.
- iRobot currently expects 2014 defense/security robot sales of $45M (compares with total revenue guidance of $555M-$565M). Backlog for the business stood at $20M at the end of Q2, roughly half of which was for international orders. Q3 results arrive on Oct. 21.
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