Oct 07, 2015 07:24 PM EDT
Smartphone users may soon hold a cute robot to their ears, thanks to Sharp's RoBoHoN. The new device is a smartphone in robot form that actually looks like a toy, more than anything. It may roll out in the Japanese market in 2016.
Sharp's RoBoHoN is powered by Android, and will come with a 2-inch screen at the back of the robot. It is reportedly a powerful music device, and it even animates during a phone call. Most of the call functions are made via speakerphone, though the user can hold it up to their ear if they prefer a more private mode of calling. The device also has a headset jack, so calls and voice commands can be transmitted more discreetly.
Sharp is more famous for its television sets and other home appliances, though the company did have its forays into the smartphone market. They have an Android line, the Aquos, which hardly made waves in the global smartphone arena. The company’s sales within their home country, Japan, may be more robust, however.
The RoBoHoN was designed and developed by famous Japanese roboticist Tomotaka Takahashi. Takashi is the CEO of Robo Garage Co., which specializes in designing and creating humanoid robots. From the looks of the marketing video, the RoBoHoN is very well-developed, with very fluid movements: an indicator of Takashi’s robot designing expertise.
The video shows the RoBoHoN’s many functions and potentials, and admittedly, it’s a fun, albeit odd way to get one’s reminders queued. It’s a personal digital assistant that gives the owner feedback, just as a very intelligent pet might.
To check out how Sharp showcases the RoBoHoN’s potentials, watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=47&v=HQtIlxe_ZkY
Although the video for the RoBoHoN shows professionals taking calls on the device with a straight face, in the real world, the scenario may play out differently. Holding a cute little robot up to one's ears certainly sounds like a rather absurd, comical idea. In spite of the possibly absurd scenario that may play out with the RoBoHoN, the thought of owning a semi-companion that also takes and projects pictures, channels one’s calls, logs reminders, among other functions, is certainly interesting. The novelty alone may prove to be an interesting unique selling proposition. Will the market snap up the device, though?
Getting the apprehensions out of the way, some specs may be of use to a potential RoBoHoN owner:
Processor/Chipset: 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926
GPU: Adreno 305
OS: Android, unspecified version
Connectivity: 3G, LTE, WiFi b/g/n
Display: 2.0 inches, QVGA
Camera: Yes, and a projector on the front (on the robot's face). The projector is said to employ the Laser Beam Scanning (LBS) PicoP technology, with HD resolution capable of up to 720p
Goodies: Walks, talks, sits up, responds, animates, projects pictures using its built-in projector, voice and face recognition.
Dimensions: Height: 7.5 in/19.5cm tall; Weight: 390g
From the video, potential RoBoHoN users can see that the device’s projection features have a lot of potential. In fact, it could be used as a projector for impromptu presentations. However, whether the presenter would be taken seriously given the RoBoHoN’s cutesy looks is still up for debate.
Would the RoBoHoN prove to be a hit? Only its sales performance in 2016 can tell. Also, it isn't clear yet if the device will reach global shores, and Sharp has yet to announce whether it will be made available through Japan's cellular carriers.
More on the RoBoHoN: https://robohon.com/special/english/
More on Tomotaka Takahashi: http://www.robo-garage.com/en/cr/
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