Sharp Corp. has announced the launch of a small humanoid smartphone that responds to voice commands and can project movies on a wall.
Debuting May 26, RoBoHon resembles a robot and has a screen that reflects its cellphone ancestry. It is priced at ¥198,000 with an additional monthly usage fee, the Osaka-based firm said.
“Sharp has a new vision of adding artificial intelligence to electronics products,” said Yoshisuke Hasegawa, a Sharp executive.
He said this merging of artificial intelligence with consumer products will be an ongoing project, dubbed “Kokoro” (“heart”). RoBoHon is the first in the series.
“Electronics will have intelligence and will be something that people can become attached to,” said Hasegawa.
The humanoid RoBoHon is 19.5 cm tall. It is the work of renowned robot designer Tomotaka Takahashi.
It has a camera and projector that can put out photos and movies, and has a 2-inch touchscreen on the back that users handle like a smartphone.
But Sharp has also equipped the device with a voice recognition interface, meaning people can use it simply by talking to it.
RoBoHon failed to react to vocal commands twice during a demonstration, but it was able to initiate a voice call, read an email aloud and take a photograph based on vocal command.
A monthly fee of ¥980 is charged to use RoBoHon, which uses Sharp’s databases to access information.
Since it is a phone, people can insert a SIM card to connect to mobile communication networks. Communication fees range from ¥650 to ¥2,280 for data packages ranging from 1 GB to 5 GB, with an additional voice call option.
Sharp will initially manufacture 5,000 units per month, but Hasegawa said he hopes that it will achieve 100,000 unit sales in the first year.
The manufacturer is considering launching the robot phone overseas.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.