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Sharp offers robotic rent-a-guide for Japan tourists

Electronics maker embraces outside partners in unfamiliar field

RoBoHoN, Sharp's robotic smartphone, will be available for tourists to rent in Tokyo's Haneda Airport next month.

OSAKA -- Sharp will target foreign visitors to Japan as the electronics maker offers its talking, dancing Robohon humanoid robot smartphones for rental via a rare collaboration with partners outside its business comfort zone.

Railway operator Keikyu will rent out the robot phones at Tokyo's Haneda Airport beginning April 25, Sharp said Wednesday. Fees will start at 1,500 yen ($13) before tax for 24 hours. To connect the robot to the internet, users will need a separate mobile Wi-Fi router, also available for rent.

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