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iRobot hosted an event in New York City earlier today where it unveiled its most powerful and advanced vacuum to date. The Roomba 980 is loaded with improved tracking and mapping technology and is the first of its kind to connect to the cloud.
At the heart of the 980 is iRobot's iAdapt 2.0 navigation system which allows the vacuum to map your floors while simultaneously avoiding obstacles. The robot then memorizes the layout of your home and during subsequent cleanings, it knows which areas to clean and which to avoid.
The new Roomba is also quite a bit more powerful. iRobot claims the brushless motor under the hood is able to clean carpets and rugs twice as well as the power plants in the 600 and 700 series models. Its battery can keep the cleaning action up for a full two hours; if Roomba has to stop early for a recharge, it'll resume cleaning where it left off.
Modders have long since used the Roomba platform as their playground, hacking the robotic vacuums in all sorts of ways (cats seem to love them, too). That's not really a thing anymore as the 980 has its own app for Android and iOS called iRobot HOME. With it, you'll be able to start or end a cleaning job, set a cleaning schedule, oversee cleaning routes and more.
One thing you won't be able to do, however, is manually control the 980. Such functionality could be added in at a later date but it's unclear if iRobot has any plans to do so.
At the unveiling, iRobot co-founder and CEO Colin Angle said the 980 is the company's most significant product launch since the original Roomba rolled into living rooms in 2002 (wow, has it really been that long?).
For all of the whiz-bang technology the new Roomba delivers, there's no getting around the fact that it's a tough pill to swallow at $899. If price is of no concern, you'll be able to order your own 980 online as of tomorrow or you can wait until it shows up in retail stores come October 1.