posted irobot forum http://www.robotreviews.com/chat/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=20127
Irobot's stock has plummeted almost 15% with news of Shark's new robot vacuum line. They are already on sale, I believe. It appears that they are attempting to introduce similar features to the lower end Roombas at a lower price. The vacuums do have wifi, but it appears that their navigation technology is more similar to the low end Roombas than to the high-end models. Shark is a well known brand and could pose serious competition to Irobot:
Shark (EuroPro) https://www.sharkclean.com/vacuums/shark-ion-robot-vacuum-series/
Walmart lists shipping beginning September 22, 2017.
Major brand names, Bissell, Black & Decker, others all have had low end early Roomba imitations for some time. A bunch of Chinese makes have appeared, including Haier (formerly GE Appliances). Distribution has been limited.
Like Dyson, Shark has vacuums in major dept. stores. It seems anyone who wants to market these lower end types can find someone in China to make them. Some of those have created their own brands. Direct shipments from China have expanded; with sufficient volume, warehouses are established in major markets, Europe, U.S. etc., besides Amazon
Distribution is changing as retailers respond to Amazon
with their own online sales and venues for third parties; they do not have to stock in their brick and mortar stores, or just use those as mail order warehouses. Returns are easier with the stores available to receive.
Shark was rumored to be entering this market months ago in industry gossip.