Qualcomm – best known for its mobile phone chips – is launching a Personal TV device (pictured, right) in the US aimed at boosting take-up of its FLO TV mobile broadcast technology. Made for Qualcomm by Taiwan’s HTC, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) notes that the FLO-branded product will go on sale at US retailers this holiday season for around US$250 with a monthly subscription fee of US$10. The device does not make voice calls and has a 3.5 inch touchscreen display.
Reports have been quick to suggest that the device has been launched in an effort to improve use of its FLO TV technology. US operators AT&T and Verizon offer FLO TV services accessed via selected mobile handsets, but the service has been slow to take off due in part to delays in lining up frequencies to broadcast signals. Qualcomm has spent hundreds of millions of dollars building a national broadcast network and recruiting content partners (for example NBC, MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central). The WSJ report notes that the service is currently available in 86 major US cities, with 107 expected by year end.