Qualcomm's FLO TV debuts its own mobile television

Qualcomm subsidiary FLO TV, the company responsible for the MediaFLO mobile content delivery system used in Verizon V Cast Mobile TV and AT&T Mobile TV, has launched its first piece of branded hardware, the FLO TV Personal Television.

The device looks almost exactly like a smartphone or a touchscreen media player, and has the specs to match. The main difference, of course, is that the FLO TV Personal Television is built with the single purpose of watching subscription FLO TV streams. The $249.99 TV is made by HTC, has a 3.5" capacitive touchscreen, and built-in stereo speakers.

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This is the first time the company has released its own exclusive hardware, but more items are expected to follow soon. Last year, Qualcomm showed off its prototype in-car entertainment system which later went into production through a partnership with Audiovox. While still not available in retail, these solutions are expected to show up under the Audiovox Advent brand before the fourth quarter of this year is out.

FLO TV broadcasts its digital signal over the "white space" freed by the DTV transition which occurred earlier this summer, and streams 320 x 240 QVGA at 15-30 frames per second. Currently, the service has 15 channels which broadcast 24 hours a day, including CBS Mobile, CNN Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Fox Mobile, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, MSNBC, and CNBC.

The main drawback right now is the service's contractual commitment, which can cost as little as $8.99 per month, but requires a massive three-year contract. One-year contracts are also available, but FLO TV did not disclose their price today. The same service on Verizon Wireless costs either $13 or $15 per month, and on AT&T either $15 or $30 per month. Both of these packages, however, are also tied into mobile data service plans.

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