Webbox Brings Internet-TV to Developing World

It might have been a bit overshadowed by all of the exciting Mobile World Congress news to hit this week, but Vodafone has launched a new device that endeavors to bring internet access to the televisions of people in developing nations.

Dubbed Webbox, Vodafone’s Patrick Chomet said the device is basically the data part of a phone inside a keyboard with a good, old analog RCA cable added in for connectivity. Once you plug in those color-coded red, white, and yellow cables and power on, you’ll see a home screen that plays host to Opera Mini 5.1. Aside from surfing the web and email, users will also have access to SMS, an FM radio, a photo gallery tool, a music player, games, a basic text editor, and a locally relevant job search and application service.

All data is sent compressed over 2.5G and EDGE mobile networks. Though pricing will obviously depend on the country, Vodafone is promising affordable internet access here, so anything extortionate would kind of defeat the purpose.

Vodacom in South Africa has announced that they will start selling the Webbox from next week. Other markets across Vodafone’s emerging market footprint are scheduled for launch at some point in 2011.

  • ProDigit10
    Very nice!
    I wished some manufacturers would actually get a terga platform, or any other, and do a build like this with an HDMI/dvi connector to it, wireless N, and external USB harddrives or other devices.
    Imagine, running a cellphone as bittorent client/chat server, or using it to set up a home webpage for upto 30 people viewing your webpage at the same time. Many businesses would do well with a cellphone that'd run their company website, instead of paying $50 per month to keep it running, and hardly have any visitors.
    It'd also be an affordable alternative and toy for hackers, to play with.
  • icemunk
    We won't get innovative technology like this in Canada, due to the monopoly and price setting of the 3 major telecom providers. We are limited to 1GB per month of data (for $30) on our wireless devices before huge overage charges kick in.