Earlier this week Sharp announced pricing and launch date for their unique humanoid-shaped robotic smartphone called RoBoHoN. The robot can be pre-ordered and will be on sale from May, 26 this year for a price of 198,000 Yen, equivalent to about 1,800 US Dollars. It will be available at first only Japan through a regional carrier, however the company has plans to bring it to other markets as well. Introduced in Fall 2015 at CEATEC in Japan the robot was present at numerous fairs including this year’s MWC.
RoBoHoN was developed in partnership with Professor Tomotaka Takahashi at the University of Tokyo, and reflects his vision in most aspects. The robot aims to be more than just an expensive communication gadget but rather to provide companionship for its owner, having a feature set that allows it to perform some fairly advanced tasks.
Sharp’s most Japanese product to date is not just kawaii, it also has a personality. RoBoHoN can understand human speech and can answer in more or less relevant fashion, however the robot can learn from interactions and improve its response over time. The functionality requires an additional cloud subscription of 980 Yen per month, approximately US $9, available only in Japan.
Actuated by no less than 13 servos and thanks to its articulated legs and hands the robot can walk and even dance. Worth noting is the fact that the robot can sit and stand up on its own. RoBoHoN is 19.5 cm tall, almost 8 inches, and undoubtedly heavy at 390 grams or almost 14 ounces, so one would need not only deep but also reinforced pockets to carry it around all the time.
RoBoHoN is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with 2GB of RAM. The smartphone part relies on Android 5.0 and is equipped with most modern communication interfaces such as 3G/LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensor and other standard peripherals. A 2-inch LCD touchscreen on the robot’s back let the user access all functionality. Should it not be enough the robot is also equipped with a 720p laser projector for displaying a larger picture.
It is also equipped with a head-mounted 8 Megapixel camera, 16 GB of internal storage and draws power from a 1700mAh battery which should be enough for more than a day of operation.