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RoBoHoN is Sharp's walking, talking, Pico-projecting Android smartphone

Everybody likes robots, especially ones that are this cute. But how about a robot that doubles as a smartphone?

Tim Stevens/CNET

JAPAN -- If you thought you looked silly holding that giant new smartphone up to your head whenever you take a call, have a look at this. Its name is RoBoHoN, it's Sharp's latest creation and yes, it's coming to market in 2016 -- in Japan, at least.

RoBoHoN is an honest to goodness robot. He can walk and talk and even cut a pretty good rug when he starts playing music. But, he's also (appropriately) an Android-powered smartphone with 3G and LTE connectivity, meaning he can be used to place and receive calls. By default he'll handle calls in a speakerphone mode, emoting and moving as if it were he talking instead of whoever's on the other line. But, if you need a little more privacy, pick him up and he'll whisper into your ear.

There's a small touchscreen on RoBoHoN's back from which you can access functionality, but he can do most things by voice. He can take pictures on command with a camera that's embedded between his eyes and, thanks to a pico projector in his forehead, he can also beam photos and videos on the wall.

The biggest question is, of course, "Why?" For that nobody really has a good answer. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a practical reason for RoBoHoN's existence -- but that doesn't mean I don't want one.