Vodafone launches Webbox - a plug and play keyboard, bringing internet to your TV

Friday, February 11th, 2011 
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Vodafone (LSE: VOD, NASDAQ: VOD) today announces the launch of the Vodafone Webbox, the first device of its kind, bringing affordable internet access to a customer’s existing television set, just by plugging in a keyboard.

The Webbox is a Vodafone innovation developed specifically for customers in emerging markets, where technology and cost barriers often exclude many from enjoying affordable, ready internet access at home or in the workplace. A sleek, black, 14 x 25cm QWERTY keyboard, the Webbox uses standard RCA connectors to plug into the television. With no set-up required, the plug and play keyboard converts any standard domestic television into an internet portal.

Patrick Chomet, Vodafone’s Group Director of Terminals said: “The Webbox is a simple yet very innovative product. 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. The simplicity of the product is striking – it brings the internet to the TV, be that at home for the family, in schools for education or in small businesses to assist local economic growth.”

The Webbox home screen allows the customer to navigate easily between the core services: Opera Mini 5.1 internet access; SMS and email messaging; internet search and media services including FM radio and a photo gallery tool, as well as a music player.

The Webbox Opera Mini browser runs over the 2.5G and EDGE mobile networks, compressing data by around 90% and so serving fast-loading internet pages. The browser homepage comes with bookmarks such as news, sport and social networking sites as well as locally relevant apps such as a job search and application service. In addition, the portal comes with some games, a dictionary and a basic text editor.

In South Africa, Vodacom has today announced that they will start selling the Webbox from next week. Other markets across Vodafone’s emerging market footprint will launch in 2011.

• The Webbox will be available at all participating Vodashops and selected Vodacom outlets from 15 February 2011 and will be priced at R749.00 including VAT. The offer includes a 2GB SD Card, a Prepaid SIM card and 100MB of data valid for the 3 months. It will also soon be available on a 24 month contract.
• The Webbox will be exhibited at the Vodafone stand at Mobile World Congress 2011.

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Links: Vodafone