There were dozens of smartphones available for preview at Qualcomm’s booth at MWC 2016, all of which are naturally powered by the company’s Snapdragon chipsets. None, however, come close in terms of uniqueness to matching Sharp’s RoBoHoN smartphone – if we can even call it one.
The RoBoHoN, simply put, looks nothing like a smartphone and more like a toy robot. But, somehow, Japanese electronics company Sharp decided it was a good idea to create a smartphone that looks like a robot.
At this point, you probably won’t really care about the specs. But if you do, you’d be disappointed to read that it’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, and has features like a 3.2MP camera as well as a pico projector mounted on its forehead, and a QVGA (that’s 320 x 240) display at the back.
See, you don’t always get the full picture just by looking at the numbers.
It is designed as a concept device, though the RoBoHoN certainly looks ready for daily use. Sharp even created an equally cute “phone holder” for the RoBoHoN, allowing you to carry it as you would a baby bottle.
True to its tagline of being a “heart moving phone”, the RoBoHoN elicits reactions you just don’t get from even the most premium of smartphones – and that’s even before you find out that the RoBoHoN can interact with you.
In the brief demo above, the RoBoHoN is capable of introducing itself, walking and even perform an adorable dance. You can talk to RoBoHoN too, telling it to take a photo, or enable the projector, among other things.
Its eyes light up in different colours, its head nods in approval after you give it an instruction. Its movement sometimes reminds you of Japanese anime; it’s not difficult to feel attached to the RoBoHoN after just a few minutes.
For the gadget-weary folk at MWC 2016, this was a completely surprising breath of fresh air.
While I was recording the demo, MWC attendees were smiling and laughing away to RoBoHoN’s antics, completely ignoring the fact that just centimeters away were rare devices such as the Samsung Galaxy A9, the LeTV Le Max and Xiaomi’s Mi 5. The poor Qualcomm/Sharp representative gave so many demos, she remembered RoBoHoN’s dance moves.
This may not be a particularly new phone (it was announced in late 2015), but RoBoHoN was easily one of the highlights of MWC 2016 for me.