Mattel cancels Cortana-powered Aristotle smart hub for kids

Amid concerns expressed by privacy advocates, Mattel has opted not bring its Aristotle smart hub for kids to market.

Aristotle, which Mattel first showed off at CES 2017, was to be powered by Microsoft Cognitive Services and Cortana intelligence tech. The smart hub would have leveraged these services to interact with children and "to aid parents and use the most advanced AI-driven technology to make it easier for them to protect, develop, and nurture the most important asset in their home—their children," Mattel said at the time.

Amid concern from privacy advocates, who recently petitioned Mattel to drop the Aristotle, The Washington Post reports that Mattel has opted to do just that. While Mattel itself doesn't cite privacy in canceling the smart hub, it says it decided Aristotle doesn't "fully align with Mattel's new technology strategy." From The Washington Post:

In a statement, Mattel said that it had decided internally not to take the product to market after a new chief technology officer, Sven Gerjets, joined the company in July. Gerjets, Mattel said, reviewed the product and decided "not to bring Aristotle to the marketplace as part of an ongoing effort to deliver the best possible connected product experience to the consumer."

Aristotle was due to release with a $299 price tag. That would have included the hub itself, as well as a camera that would have allowed parents to check in on their children. The hub itself would have been able to do things like automatically detect and soothe crying babies with music, or even help kids with homework. Smart home integrations would also have allowed Aristotle to control and interact with products from Philips Hue, Wink, SmartThings, and more.