Since making its first public appearance last October, Sharp Corp.'s humanoid robot smartphone, RoBoHoN, has created a lot of buzz.

But the eye-catching 19.5-cm-tall robot, which can walk, talk and dance but still works as a phone, has also left many people wondering why a phone and a robot should be bundled together, and what Sharp’s long-term strategy is.

As it turns out, Sharp is dead serious about the project. Officials say the firm thinks a robot phone could be the next big thing — in fact, as big as the smartphone boom. The company is even envisioning a science fiction-like future in which everyone will carry his or her own robot phone that doubles as a personal assistant.