TOKYO, June 5 SoftBank Corp is
developing robots and will use them in its cellphone stores, two
people with knowledge of the situation said, becoming the first
Japanese mobile operator to enter the robot business.
SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son will announce the
plan at a press conference at 0400 GMT, the sources said.
The Japanese company will use technologies developed by
Aldebaran, a French company in which it took a stake in 2012,
A timeframe was not immediately clear but the Nikkei
business daily said SoftBank would introduce the robots at some
of its stores around this summer to converse with customers.
The Nikkei said production of the robots would be outsourced
to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Hon Hai group.
With Japan's population rapidly aging, the government hopes
companies can offset the decline in the labour force by
utilising robotics technology.
(Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Teppei Kasai; Editing by