A Thought on the Technology of “Chobits” – Mobile Persocoms

Okay guys; I’m more than halfway through “Chobits” and while I was watching episode 17, “Chi Helps”, something dawned on me. The character of Sumomo, Shimbo’s mobile persocom with the “I Dream of Jennie” inspired outfit, is what would be considered in modern-day terminology as a “Smartphone”. Now before you give me the “What the heck is wrong with you?” look that OtakuAndrain often gives me when his nose is not stuck in a game, just hear me out on this one.

Just for fun, let’s do some comparison of some basic features using my own cell phone; a HTC Inspire 4G. It’s a relatively up-to-date device, with a lot of features that are standard on today’s modern smartphones.

HTC Inspire 4G:

  • Can access the internet upon command and search the web like a large computer. [I use this on a daily basis; reading manga, searching for info on websites…]
  • Can use voice commands to complete everyday tasks. [I can press one button on my phone and use my voice to make the phone do standard things like “Call Mom”, “Navigate to FYE”, etc…It’s very handy…]
  • Can send/receive calls and route calls to voice-mail upon command. [Useful for work and play…]
  • Can play and record audio and video. [I can take very clear pictures with the camera whenever I don’t have my standard digital camera with me. I can also upload pics to the Internet wherever I am. As for video…I got full access to YouTube, and I can upload directly to the site.]
  • Can provide turn-by-turn navigation directions using GPS Software. [This has saved my bacon many a times. ESPECIALLY during vacations in strange towns.]
  • Comes complete with apps and accessories that can be purchased separately to increase functionality and make using it more fun. […I loves me some “Angry Birds”…]
  • Can be used as an alarm clock with customizable ring tones and even music. [I can pick whatever I want my wake-up music to be.]
  • Can be password protected to prevent unauthorized access. [I can use numbers, letters, or a specialized drawn pattern to keep my phone secured. I can also remote self-destruct all the data on my phone should I lose it somewhere or it’s stolen.]

Sumomo:

  • Can access the internet upon command over a wireless data network. [Episode 9 – “Chi Buys”. Sumomo uses this feature of hers to search for the proper way to bathe a persocom. Evidently she must’ve been using Google’s “I Feel Lucky” button as she never did quite get it right…]
  • Can use voice commands to complete everyday tasks. [Every episode she is featured in…it’s a common feature.]
  • Can send/receive calls and route calls to voice-mail upon command. [Episode 7 – “Chi Works” and several other episodes. Though it is a little annoying that the only mode you can use is Speakerphone…unless a wireless headset can be used for private conversations.]
  • Can play and record audio and video. [Episode 6 – “Chi Weakens” and also in Episode 9.5 – “Shimbo & Sumomo Chat”. While I’m sure you can customize her to go into a suspend mode or something, I find it a little disconcerting that you have a moving, walking and talking tape recorder with you…]
  • Can provide turn-by-turn navigation directions using GPS Software. [Episode 4 – “Chi Goes on Errands”. This is both a plus and a minus…while a talking GPS is always a handy thing to have around…I could do without hearing “DANGER!! DANGER!!” whenever I make a wrong turn…that would scare the dickens out of me!]
  • Comes complete with apps and accessories that can be purchased separately to increase functionality and make using it more fun. [Shimbo mentions that other accessories like a printer can be attached in Episode 2 – “Chi Goes Out”. She is also seen with many different accessories throughout the series like noise makers, confetti, and her signature tambourine. Anime physics at work, I guess, as I have NO clue where she keeps it all…]
  • Can be used as an alarm clock with customizable ring tones and even music. [A Feature used in several episodes–“Wakey Wakey Exercises” anyone?]
  • Can be password protected to prevent unauthorized access. [Episode 17 – “Chi Helps”. Coupled with Voice Recognition, Sumomo can keep all your data safe.]

So as you can see, Sumomo and my Inspire are a lot alike [Though I have to wonder if Shimbo’s cellphone bill is as high as mine…]. While I do understand that “Chobits” came out long before the whole “Smartphone” craze kicked into high gear and long before some of the features mentioned above came to be standard on today’s modern phones, I find it fascinating how on the money this show is with regards to the future capabilities of mobile devices, even though we are quite a bit away from having phones or other handheld devices that can sing, dance, and toss confetti on its own.

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3 thoughts on “A Thought on the Technology of “Chobits” – Mobile Persocoms

  1. I wish we had persocoms like Sumomo. I thought the scene with her getting that message and that other persocom giving her the “what?” look as she got all hyper about getting a message. It got even more charming when she asked the persocom to clap her hands. Sumomo is so cute!

  2. It’s amazing how life often ends up imitating entertainment – Tricorders on Star Trek preceeded cell phones! I’m just waiting on Japan to reveal they’ve made the tiny precedents for Sumomo, because she’s so cute it’s all just a matter of time….

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