Robot companion Jibo is seriously limiting who it will be friends with, after unexpectedly informing preorder customers and crowdfunding backers that it now won't be shipping outside of North America.

The news took customers by surprise this week, with the Jibo team blaming latency problems and a knock-on impact on performance for the decision to only fulfill purchases of the robot made in the US and Canada.

"Over time, through in-depth technical and market exploration, we learned operating servers from the US creates performance latency issues," the company informed backers, "from a voice-recognition perspective, those servers in the US will create more issues with Jibo's ability to understand accented English than we view as acceptable."

As a result, anybody who placed an order for Jibo - in either the original campaign or the subsequent round of preorders that opened in May last year - who doesn't live in the US or Canada will be issued with a refund.

Though the goal is still to release Jibo in some of the other 45 countries originally promised, that will be dependent on the company setting up a completely localized version of the servers in each territory.

That said, "we plan to expand to some international markets in late 2017," Jibo says, though will not confirm publicly which countries that includes, nor allow preorder customers to keep their purchase on hold until the point where sales can in fact begin.

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