Skyhook is partnering up with Sharp to provide accurate location in their new mobile robot phone, RoBoHoN. There's not much RoBoHoN can't do. Standing just under 8in tall, his voice activation allows him to help in the office and kitchen. You can talk, make actions, or express feelings with him.
We spoke with Tomoya Tanaka, Manager of Product Planning Dept, and Takayuki Mohri, Manager of Software Development Dept at Sharp to discuss the relationship.
What is RoBoHoN? How is it different from other smartphones on the market?
RoBoHoN is a completely new product category which we call a mobile robot
phone. This product is totally different from other touch UI smartphones because it’s using voice communication through humanoid robot as it’s primary interface. Users feel emotionally attached to the product and can enjoy a new and unique user experience which they can’t have with conventional smartphones.
Outside of making a phone call, what can RoBoHoN do?
RoBoHoN is equipped with mobile network communication (LTE/3G) and the features can be used by communicating with RoBoHoN, including the basic smartphone features such as phone, email and camera, as well as various services provided through proprietary RoBoHoN apps. RoBoHon has a newly developed, focus-free nano laser projector embedded so that it can show photos, videos and maps, including any new features added by downloading new proprietary RoBoHoN apps. RoBoHoN also learns users’ profiles and preferences, which enables more seamless communication with the device.
What does the future hold for Sharp and RoBoHoN?
Sharp hopes that RoBoHoN will fulfill our vision to change the way we communicate with electronics through developing a new lifestyle.
What is the future of Robotics and Smartphones?
Sharp believes that RoBoHoN will create a new market that combines the two: a smartphone-robot hybrid that specializes in communicating through conversation. We hope to expand on this project further.
What were the business drivers for teaming up with Skyhook?
Sharp already has a relationship with Skyhook using their solutions in several Sharp products. The trustworthy performance in those products was the main driver for teaming up with Skyhook again.
How did you come to choose Skyhook as your location provider?
Sharp decided to choose Skyhook as our location provider for 2 reasons:
First, when we looking for a location provider for previous products, we went through multiple evaluation processes with many different vendors. The performance of Skyhook was the most outstanding with the most precise location data detection.
Second, RoBoHoN is a mobile device that you can bring with you on the go, so we needed to embed the most accurate location technology.
What kind of competitive edge will this give Sharp/RoBoHoN?
RoBoHoN is a robot that goes where you go. By using Skyhook, RoBoHoN will be able to detect accurate location data, creating new experiences for users such as conversational communication based on where you are. RoBoHoN can provide these kinds of heart warming experiences that conventional robots cannot.
How will RoBoHoN users benefit from the inclusion of location data?
Sharp will be able to provide new applications and services using the accurate location data collected by RoBoHoN. Your experiences with RoBoHoN will change based on where you are.
What does the future hold for Sharp/RoBoHoN and Skyhook?
Sharp would like to continuously work closely with Skyhook, bringing new products and services to life together.
RoBoHoN is currently only available in Japan. Are there plans to sell this phone elsewhere?
We’re considering our next market now.