Qualcomm readying handheld FLO TV Personal Television device

You know I like to keep my ear close to the ground when it comes to new gadgets, and I just got the scoop via a very reliable source about a new portable digital TV that Qualcomm is going to be introducing soon. Called the FLO TV Personal Television, or PTV, this thing will be an iPhone-sized device for tuning into broadcasts on Qualcomm’s FLO TV terrestrial digital TV service. Read on for more.
FLO TV has already started showing up in a handful of
cellphones (from Samsung, Motorola, and LG so far), with the basic idea
being that you can get better video via terrestrial broadcast rather
than a bandwidth constrained 3G wireless network. Mobile digital TV has
gotten some traction in South Korea and Japan, but so far isn’t getting
a lot of love here in the States, primarily because of cost (it’s an
additional fee on top of a data plan) and because the phones that are
compatible with it aren’t so hot.

It remains to be seen
whether a standalone device will actually make the difference — I
suspect an add-on tuner for the iPhone might do pretty well — but it
looks like Qualcomm, which rarely introduces hardware itself (they
probably made the chipset in your phone), is willing to test the waters
and put the PTV out there to see how it does. At the very least it may
build some awareness for FLO TV as a product, which definitely works
better than streaming video (image quality is better and there’s no
network congestion or buffering to deal with).

Anyway, my
source was able to score a concept rendering of the PTV, which was
created by frog design in California for Qualcomm, and from the details
I’ve been able to gather it will have a capacitive touchscreen with a
swipe and gesture-driven UI, 4GB of memory (presumably for storing
music, not clear whether you’ll also be able to play video files),
built-in stereo speakers, and enough battery life for 300 hours of
standby, 5 hours of TV, and 15 hours of music. No clue when it’ll be
available, or even officially announced, but I’d be really surprised if
we didn’t have something concrete by CES. Maybe sooner.

Product Page – FLO TV Personal TV (you can add this to your want list there)
Company Page – Qualcomm