Qualcomm tries hand at handheld TV

The FLO TV service, already available on mobile phones in the U.S., comes to a dedicated device for the first time.

Qualcomm will offer its FLO TV on a handheld television, putting this existing service on a dedicated device for the first time.

Qualcomm's FLO TV Personal Television
Qualcomm's FLO TV Personal Television Qualcomm

FLO TV, the Qualcomm-owned provider of a live mobile TV service, unveiled the FLO TV Personal Television on Tuesday, with availability slated for holiday season at retailers.

FLO, or "forward link only" technology, is designed for multicasting a large volume of rich multimedia content cost effectively to wireless subscribers. AT&T and Verizon already offer FLO TV on mobile phones in the U.S.

Qualcomm says the FLO TV Personal Television is "created with the single focus of delivering high-quality TV." The device receives live and time-shifted content with no buffering, downloading or waiting to view content, according to Qualcomm.

Content includes CNBC, Comedy Central, ESPN, ESPNews, Fox, Fox News, Fox Sports, MSNBC, MTV, NBC2Go, NBC, NBC News, NBC Sports, Nickelodeon, CBS, CBS College Sports, and CBS News. (Editors' note: CBS College Sports and CBS News are offerings of CBS, which is also the parent company of CNET News.)

Though handheld TV is still somewhat of an unknown quantity, viewership--like that of more traditional big-screen TV-- tends to spike during major national events, according to Qualcomm. Its service saw a surge in viewers, for example, during March Madness--the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

Qualcomm cited market research from TeleAnalytics that projects a broadcast mobile TV market of $2.8 billion and 50 million users in North American by 2013.

FLO TV Personal Television subscription service starts at $8.99 per month and the device will sell for $249.99. Specifications include a 3.5-inch diagonal screen and weight of of just over 5 ounces. Its battery supports more than 5 hours of active FLO TV viewing or 300 hours standby.

The television uses a capacitive touch-screen allowing channel surfing with a finger swipe. It also includes a built-in stand and stereo speakers.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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