RoboPhone: Sharp to Sell Real Android Phones in Japan

Sharp Corp.’s new communication device, the Robohon.Sharp Corp.

Sharp Corp. is preparing to ship out android smartphones–literally.

The Osaka-based electronics maker said Tuesday it would introduce a new mobile communication device in 2016 that is a tiny android robot. It will come with features of a smartphone including email, Internet connectivity, camera and a 2-inch display. Still to be decided is whether the device will use Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system or another operating system.

The Robohon, which is about 20 centimeters (eight inches) tall and weighs 390 grams (a little under a pound), is small enough to be carried in chest pockets. It has facial and voice recognition system, can communicate with its owner verbally, and understands voice commands. Its eyes can work as a projector that displays images on wide screens. A display is set up on the backside of the machine.

According to the company’s press release, the device was developed with robot creator Tomotaka Takahashi. Because of its form and ability to naturally exchange conversation with its owner, users should be able to feel a special bond with the device, the company said.

As for its robot functions, the Robohon can sit, get up on its feet on its own, walk and move its hands. The concept video by the company shows that it can also robot-dance.

Further details of the product including cost and date of sale haven’t been determined, a spokesman at the company said.