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Computer Accessories

Vodafone Webbox keyboard puts a Web browser on your telly

Fancy turning your telly into a Web browser? No? Oh. Well, if you did fancy it, the Vodafone Webbox would have you covered. It's a keyboard with a SIM card that plugs into your TV.

If you're anything like us, you start to sweat if you're ever more than a metre away from a Web browser. Vodafone knows our pain -- and it wants to stick a browser in your telly. Using a keyboard. Wait, a what?!

It's called the Webbox (not Web box, Webbox, like lummox) and it works like this: the little keyboard (pictured above) plugs into your TV via RCA connectors, and there's space for a Vodafone SIM card inside the keyboard itself. Vodafone hopes this odd device will give people in developing countries an opportunity to get online in places where Web connections aren't ten a penny.

Plug the whole shebang in, fire up your telly and you'll be able to cruise the worldwide Web in an Opera Mini 5.1 browser. You'll also be able to send SMS and email messages, and there'll be some media services packed in too, including an FM radio, a photo gallery tool and some form of music player. There are some games thrown in as well for good measure.

The bad news is the Webbox browser runs over GPRS and Edge connections, so it's going to be pretty slow, and anything more advanced than simple page viewing or Googling could prove so slow you end up tearing your hair out.

Still, if you're not totally hooked on the Internet and just want to look something up occasionally, or check your email, this could come in very handy indeed. And RCA connectors can be found on just about every old telly under the sun. Marvellous.

The Webbox will be available in South Africa from next week, and in other markets at some point in 2011. No word on whether it's coming to the UK, but we'd hope so -- it could be a useful bit of kit for those who aren't so tech-savvy.

If you want to know more, Vodafone helpfully provides this video featuring an oddly enthusiastic rep who'll tell you all about it. If you just want to see the Webbox in action, skip to the 1 minute 55 second mark.