Most phones look very similar these days, but Sharp doesn’t want to follow the crowd with a phone it has in development for early 2016. It’s called the RoBoHon, and it takes the concept of a modern smartphone and the almost ubiquitous virtual assistant, and stuffs it all inside the body of a robot. If the video is anything to go by, RoBoHon is going to be the robotic pal you’ve always wanted.
Like a cross between Pepper the robot and a Lego Minifigure, RoBoHon stands just under 20cm tall, and is controlled primarily by your voice; although he does have a small touchscreen on his back for those more complicated tasks. What does he do? Everything you phone does — from making calls to receiving emails — but with the added cuteness only an always-happy robot can provide.
RoBoHon will read messages, then send a dictated reply, he’ll help snap a selfie or take group photos, and thanks to his head-mounted projector, even display media and images onto walls or other surfaces. If any of those pictures bring a tear to your eye, RoBoHon will tell it’s all OK, and that he likes you. What more could you want?
You may want a higher spec phone, as RoBoHon’s 2-inch screen, 320 x 240 pixel resolution, and Snapdragon 400 chip aren’t exactly up to date. Plus you’ll have to put up with a few questioning glances when your phone looks and acts like a little robot. For example, using RoBoHon to make calls does make you look a bit odd, as will carrying him around like a baby in the specially made pouch. Being treated like a social outcast will be small price to pay, because owning RoBoHon will be like living in the future.
The future with RoBoHon isn’t that far away either, and Sharp wants to have him on sale during the first six months of 2016. Sharp rarely sells phones outside Japan, so we’d be surprised to see RoBoHon at AT&T alongside the Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6S, sadly. There’s no price attached yet either, but whatever it is, I’m willing to pay it.