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Imagine if Alexa was a giggling robot in a short skirt

Just to be clear, the Gatebox Virtual Home Robot has nothing to do with Amazon. And probably the only reason it looks somewhat like the Echo is so that the people who buy it have a convenient cover.

Gatebox's giggling robot is "always by your side."

Have you ever wanted to your Amazon Echo to have a little more personality? How about a face? How about the face and personality of a giggling, animated Japanese girl in a short skirt? What could go wrong?

For roughly 300,000 yen, which converts to roughly $2,600, £2,000, and AU$3,470, you can preorder Gatebox Virtual Home Robot today, though it's only supported in the US and Japan for now.

Like Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa, Gatebox will be able to talk to you and tell you about the weather. Unlike Alexa, which is a friendly voice meant mostly to control your smart home and work as a personal assistant, the companion in Gatebox looks primarily aimed to provide company.

The Gearbox site talks about the importance of "feeling like this is a character close to you, that is always by your side." It's sized so you can "discreetly place it beside you anytime."

So, it might have some functionality like the Amazon Echo, and it might be roughly the same size and shape, but Gearbox is taking the virtual companion idea to the next level of creepy.