Short post here. I'm not going to do a detailed critique.
woot.com had a sale on a Roomba. I got one. Its awesome. Even my generally technophobic wife likes it. We have a pretty big place so we keep it confined to our bedroom where the two dogs sleep at night. Our room is about 25x25, I leave the door open to the bathroom and it finds our way into the walk in closet. Its really great. Neither of us like to vacuum (who does?), so now you hit a button in the morning, go to work, dump the dirt when you get home. Really, not a lot of work there.
There are two drawbacks using it. The first is that you have to roomba-size the room. That means taping down throw rugs with strong double sided rug tape (you get it at home depot), getting rid of clutter, push stray wires against the wall, and things like that. The second is that it is not methodical. For the most part it moves around the room in a random pattern. That means you can't expect it to do that same sort of job you would do with a vacuum. That is why you bend over and press the button every day. Yeesh, so much work! Its not really a drawback, its more of a shift in the way you have to think about vacuuming your room.
Our room looks very clean all the time now, but I am still amazed that it still manages to find dog hair and such (honestly, its a little gross that the dirt cartridge is transparent, you can see how much skin and dander it sucks up).
Every week it need minimal maintenance. You need to pop out the brushes (no tools needed) and pull out the long hair (not mine!) and threads that have rolled up into the brushes. Its a 5 minute job.
Anyway, even my mom wants one now. I think these are great and I want more for the rest of our house.
Now, Dear iRobot, could you please make the following:
Lawn mower that nibbles at the grass (i.e. no large lawnmower blades, something closer to small hedge clippers. Solar powered in a way it just charges batteries during the day and nibbles at night. GPS guided in a way that I can just walk around with the GPS module to create waypoints that define the mowing area. Provide a differential transmitter so that the accuracy can be good.
For 500 bucks, I'd buy this in 2 seconds.