A couple of weeks ago Sharp and Foxconn have announced their merger, or more precisely, the two companies have confirmed that Foxconn has acquired 66% of Sharp Corporation after paying ~US$3.5 billion. In light of these recent events we didn’t expect Sharp to make any new product announcements for a while – least of all for an unconventional product -, but surprisingly enough, today the company revealed the pricing and release date details for its RoboHon robot/phone. The gadget will be available in Japan starting May 26, and will hit the shelves for 198,000 yen, which translates to roughly $US1,800.
Sharp’s RoboHon was officially unveiled last October as a tiny robot running Android 5.0 Lollipop, featuring voice and face recognition, Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, and a built-in projector. The robot is roughly 8-inches tall and can dance, walk, stand, sit, read and reply to text messages, and notify the user of incoming notifications by raising its arms. It can also act as an alarm, and expectedly or not, it can be used as a mobile phone. RoboHon is equipped with a 2-inch display on its back featuring a resolution of 320 x 240 and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC.
Needless to say, the Sharp RoboHon is a rather odd but lovable contraption, and it’s safe to say that there aren’t many other robot/phone alternatives out there. However, this bit of exclusivity also comes at a price. RoboHon costs 198,000 yen in Japan, which converts to roughly US$1,800, meaning that the robot/phone costs as much as two brand new flagship phones and a mid-range terminal put together. Then again, RoboHon is in a class of its own and can be considered more of a companion device which is much more aware of its surroundings than a regular handset. But ultimately, whether or not the price is justified remains to be seen. At the moment, Sharp’s RoboHon is only available for pre-order in Japan, where it will hit the market on the 26h of May. As yet there are no details regarding the robot’s price and availability outside of Japan, and it’s possible that the product will remain exclusive to the Japanese market.