THE TV PHONE THAT COULD SELL

Finweek English Edition - - Techtrends -

TELE­VI­SION ON cell­phones in the tra­di­tional broad­cast sense of the word hasn’t shown much prom­ise. DStv has tried to launch a mo­bile ver­sion of its ser­vice in South Africa us­ing DVB-H tech­nol­ogy but has been stalled by reg­u­la­tor Icasa drag­ging its feet in terms of mak­ing such an of­fer­ing pos­si­ble from a leg­isla­tive per­spec­tive. The mar­ket also seems ap­a­thetic about the con­cept. Now Al­tech Au­topage Cel­lu­lar has in­tro­duced a de­vice from Chi­nese ven­dor VS Mo­bile that al­lows users to tune into SABC1, 2 and 3 and e.tv.

The V826 Mo­bile TV phone has an aerial that ex­tends from un­der it and is used to tune into UHF and VHF sig­nals. It also has two SIM card slots with re­spec­tive call but­tons. For ex­am­ple, us­ing the dual-SIM func­tion­al­ity you can in­sert SIM cards for both MTN and Cell C and then choose which SIM to call out on by us­ing the call key that cor­re­lates to the de­sired net­work’s SIM.

The dual-SIM card ap­proach is a clever one in mar­kets such as SA, where low av­er­age rev­enue per user (ARPU) cus­tomers reg­u­larly carry mul­ti­ple SIM cards to max­imise on sav­ings and spe­cials of­fered on pre­paid cel­lu­lar con­nec­tions.

The V826 is a ter­ri­ble phone. It has a sub-stan­dard cam­era, makes an­noy­ing sounds, even just when switch­ing on, has ter­ri­ble re­cep­tion for TV and has one of the worst user in­ter­faces I’ve ever seen – and it’s go­ing to sell like hot­cakes.

The rea­son it will suc­ceed is sim­ple: it’s cheap and en­joy­ing a part­ner­ship with the SABC that in­cludes TV ad­ver­tis­ing. At R1 600, the V826 of­fers fea­tures you’d usu­ally have to spend more than dou­ble that for. They may be bad im­ple­men­ta­tions of those fea­tures but they’re there none­the­less.

Be­sides its TV tuner and 1,3 megapixel cam­era the V826 also sup­ports play­back for MP3, can record TV and ra­dio, has a touch screen with sty­lus and built-in FM ra­dio. It’s also WAP en­abled for sim­ple In­ter­net func­tion­al­ity.

I’d rather use two tin cans and some string to com­mu­ni­cate than con­sider the V826. How­ever, I do see where Al­tech Au­topage Cel­lu­lar is com­ing from and its mar­ket po­si­tion­ing is ge­nius. There’s just one catch: you must pro­duce a TV li­cence be­fore you can buy the V826.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.