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Sharp begins sales of first robot phone RoBoHon

By Alexandra Hongo

It looks like a toy, speaks like a robot, it dances and sings, but most importantly answers your phone calls and sends your emails. Meet RoBoHon — the world’s first humanoid robot smartphone.

The 19.5-cm-tall robot phone manufactured by Sharp Corp, officially went on sale Thursday, marking the beginning of the company’s efforts to develop next-generation communication appliances under the leadership of Taiwan’s Hon Hai, which recently took over Sharp.

While serving predominantly as a regular smartphone, including having basic functions such as camera, voicemail, text messages and apps, the 390-gram two-legged robot can also be used as a personal assistant, which uses artificial intelligence skills to communicate with users. It greets in the morning, reminds you of upcoming phone calls and even says it will do its best when being given orders.

Texting is also simple, according to Miho Kagei, RoBoHon’s product development manager. The user can simply speak out the content of the email, remind RoBoHon who the message is addressed to and order the robot to send it. Upon completion, RoBoHon announces the work has been done and if its user praises it, it will even raise its hands in joy.

RoBoHon can be used as projector to display video, photos or maps, as well as recognise faces of people using its camera and then address them by their name. It can also sing, dance, answer quizzes and even act as a music player whenever given proper instructions.

At present, Sharp is producing 5,000 units of the robot per month, but said it will look into expanding sales if demand increases. Users can purchase it at most electronic appliance stores across Japan at a base price of ¥198,000 in addition to a ¥980 monthly basic fee and other additional telecommunication fees starting from a basic plan of ¥650 a month.

To commemorate RoBoHon’s market debut, Sharp opened a RoBoHon Cafe on the premises of the Royal Garden Cafe in Tokyo’s Kita-aoyama district for a limited time until June 7. Visitors to the cafe can try the robot, as well as taste several unique dishes inspired by its look, including a RoBoHon latte and tiramisu.

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Any JT readers interested in buying this for 198,000 yen or any other price for that matter?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I cringed when reading and seeing this and ill cringing more if i see it for real and the person accompanying it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So where's the picture of the RoBoHon latte and tiramisu?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Any JT readers interested in buying this for 198,000 yen or any other price for that matter?

No thanks, I'll stick to my $220 awesome LG gflex. This Sharp phone does not fit any pocket, is too expensive, feature a 1980's phone screen of 320x240, looks cheaply plastic made and finally make you look like an idiot when answering your phone call.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder what foxconn make of this product now they have taken over Sharp.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Osusume for those who enjoy a $1800 huge Lego with 2 inches display for smartphone (hands are definitely Lego's inspired).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder how long will Terry Gou (head of Hon Hai) will give it before it gets the chop? I'd say 3 months, tops.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

0 ( +1 / -1 )

After watching that video presentation last year, I actually want to buy one in the future.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I was at the robot fair this week. Not seen this one but I tried the others that appear in news often. That's totally disappointing, extremely unconvenient. Oh yeah, the robot says "I love you"... if you program it to say that whenever you say or type the code word. The videos are staged. I saw journalists retaking 8 times a sequence to show a robot grabbing a box. The box was empty, and it fell 7 times... but the claim is the robot grabs your cup of coffee and brings it to your lip when you're rick...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

at a base price of ¥198,000 in addition to a ¥980 monthly basic fee

For something that looks like its made of LEGOs and doesn't really work? No thanks

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So it's running windows embedded?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll stick with.....something different!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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