To cash in on growing consumer demand to access internet on television sets, Vodafone now has a device called Webbox.
Webbox, with a sleek design and shiny black surface, consists of a plug and play keyboard. The keyboard has to be directly plugged into televisions using common TV connectors. The device, fitted with a Vodafone SIM, then allows the user to surf the internet on his TV.
As soon as you start it, the home screen shows options such as email, SMS, a search option, Opera browser and FM radio. Webbox has other features such as games, text editor and a dictionary.
Internet data is sent over 2.5G and Edge networks. Data is compressed up to 90 per cent by Opera Mini 5.1 browser, and the home page has social networking bookmarks as well.
Patrick Chomet, Vodafone’s group director of terminals, said about Webbox, “It has the potential to make a powerful difference in the lives of people in emerging markets who have limited access to the internet, but where TV penetration is typically very high.”
Vodafone Webbox will be launched soon in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and, later, in India.
What the Vodafone team has done is to take the heart of a smartphone and put it inside a keyboard.
Since Vodafone is promising affordable internet access, Webbox will probably be competitively priced.