It is probably part of a robotics fan’s dream come true. Or nightmare once they see the price tag. If you thought Sharp was joking last year when it revealed the talking, walking, and even dancing RoboHon robot phone, then this latest announcement will probably prove how dead serious it is. Serious enough to slap on the equivalent of $1,800 on the non-smartphone communications and telephony device rolled into one. Yes, that will be how much it costs when RoboHon launches in Japan on May 26th.
The idea behind RoboHon might be odd, but the execution is admittedly cute and attractive. Depending on how you like your robots, of course. The petite robot that barely fits your hand has the personality of a Japanese child, gender undetermined. It moves, talks, and blinks depending on the context and the functionality currently in use.
As far as phone functions go, RoboHon is equivalent to that of a feature phone. Except it has no keys. Almost everything is done by voice, though it does have a barely usable screen on its back. It only supports voice calls and text messages, though it is noted to support LTE connections too.
RoboHon’s special features start with its ability to respond to voice commands and answer back. In Japanese, of course. It has a camera as well as a projector on its forehead, making it useful for both capturing memories and playing them back. And yes, it can even dance.
Is RoboHon worth $1,800? Depends on who you ask. Avid robotics fans, at least the more well-funded ones, might jump at the offer. If they’re in Japan, that is. The robot phone will initially launch in Japan, currently supporting NTT DoCoMo’s network. Sharp does plan to bring in more carriers, though convincing those will probably be as hard as convincing buyers. And yes, Sharp does plan on introducing RoboHon to the rest of the world. Eventually. If it doesn’t flop in Japan, that is.