Qualcomm is reportedly working on a new portable digital TV called the FLO TV Personal Television, or PTV. The iPhone-sized device will be used to tune into broadcasts on Qualcomm’s FLO TV terrestrial digital TV service and could mark a departure for a company that rarely introduces hardware itself.
FLO TV capable mobile phones have started appearing from Samsung, LG and Motorola, but the FLO TV PTV would apparently be a dedicated TV with built-in stereo speakers, capacitive touchscreen display with a swipe and gesture-driven user interface, and 4GB of memory – although it’s unclear whether the device will be capable of playing back video files, so the 4GB could be intended for storing music. The battery should provide enough power for 300 hours of standby, 5 hours of TV viewing, or 15 hours of music.
Unlike download services such as iTunes or 3G-based IPTV services that chew through bandwidth, FLO TV is a subscription-based service that allows U.S. users to view live broadcast mobile digital TV on mobile devices. The technology provides better image quality and avoids the buffering and network congestion inherent with streaming video.
Also referred to as MediaFLO, FLO TV is a competitor to the European DVB-H, Korean T-DMB, and Japanese 1seg standards. Mobile digital TV has been relatively successful in Japan and Korea, but uptake in the U.S. has been hampered due to the additional cost on top of a data plan and a lack of desirable FLO TV capable devices. Qualcomm might be looking to rectify both problems with the new unit.
Qualcomm hasn't officially announced the FLO TV Personal TV, so stay tuned for pricing and availability details.