FLO TV Personal Television announced: expensive & unnecessary?

Having seen its packaging making the rounds, it was only a matter of time until Qualcomm made their FLO TV Personal Television official.  The palm-sized touchscreen mediaplayer has a 3.5-inch display and is 0.5-inches thick; FLO TV offers wireless live and time-shifted TV that up until now you'd have needed to have a compatible smartphone from Verizon or other carriers in order to view.  Unfortunately, the monthly subscription fee those carriers levied is still in place: as well as the $249.99 of the FLO TV device itself, you're looking at the equivalent of $8.99 or more for each month.

That $8.99 is assuming you're willing to sign a three-year commitment, which Qualcomm will take – almost $324 over the full course – up front; more than the FLO TV Personal Television player itself.  Qualcomm will grudgingly sell you a one-year contract, but you'll have to pay more for each month.

The device itself has a stand, capacitive touchscreen with gesture-based UI, and a 3.5mm headphones jack, along with stereo speakers.  It's hard to tell who exactly is looking for another device to carry, especially one the services of which they can access on an existing cellphone.

Press Release:

FLO TV to be Available on Multiple Platforms Including Mobile Handsets, In-Car Entertainment Systems and Consumer Electronic Devices

October 7, 2009

FLO TV™ Personal Television

SAN DIEGO – October 7, 2009 – Television just got personal. FLO TV Incorporated, provider of the award-winning FLO TV™ live mobile TV service and a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), today will unveil the FLO TV Personal Television – an entirely new dedicated device that will let TV lovers watch their favorite news, live sports, children's programming and entertainment on a dedicated device for mobile TV viewing. The FLO TV Personal Television will be available for purchase this holiday season at leading retailers across the country.

The FLO TV Personal Television is created with the single focus of delivering high-quality TV for a convenient, easy and fun television experience while on-the-go. The device receives live and time-shifted content over the FLO TV dedicated multicast network with no buffering, downloading or waiting to view content. With the swipe of a finger, consumers can channel surf through the FLO TV service's extensive programming lineup.

"We have offered the award-winning FLO TV service on a variety of handsets through our carrier and OEM partners, and we plan to continue working with them to expand the FLO TV handset lineup," said Bill Stone, president of FLO TV. "We are also thrilled to be launching the first of FLO TV's direct-to-consumer offerings with the FLO TV Personal Television. We have heard from customers that they want more choice and, specifically, a device that is easy to share with friends and family. With the FLO TV service available on mobile handsets, in-car entertainment systems and consumer electronics devices like FLO TV Personal Television, FLO TV offers something for every kind of consumer on-the-go."

About FLO TV Personal Television

FLO TV Personal Television subscription service starts as low as the equivalent of $8.99 per month* and the device will be offered at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $249.99. The device has a 3.5-inch diagonal screen and measures 4.4 inches by 3 inches by .5 inches and weighs just over 5 ounces. Its battery supports more than 5 hours of active FLO TV viewing or 300 hours standby. The FLO TV Personal Television utilizes a capacitive touch-screen for easy and comfortable navigation – users can channel surf with just a swipe of their finger. It also includes several features meant to enhance the TV experience, including a built-in stand allowing the device to be positioned upright on any flat surface, built-in stereo speakers making it easy to watch TV with others, and the ability for users to set reminders for their favorite programming.

About the FLO TV Service

Market research firm TeleAnalytics projects that the broadcast mobile TV market will reach $2.8 billion and serve 50 million users in North American by 2013. FLO TV is poised for this market opportunity with its high-quality mobile TV service that allows subscribers to watch TV on-the-go. Whether you're commuting, waiting for your child to finish practice, or you are just an on-the-go active person, as a FLO TV subscriber you'll have immediate access to news, sports and entertainment content at your fingertips wherever you go.

From live sports and news to full-length dramas, comedies, children's programming and original FLO TV programming, the FLO TV service has something everyone can enjoy. It carries full–length simulcast and time–shifted programming from America's top entertainment brands.

The FLO TV service programming line-up may differ depending on distribution platform. Service not available everywhere. All programming subject to change and blackout restrictions.

*Taxes not included. Additional fees and charges may apply. Pricing and service subject to change at any time. Prepaid subscription required for 1 year / 3 year plans. 3-year prepaid subscription required for $8.99 / mo. package. After the expiration of the original prepaid subscription, your subscription will automatically renew and your credit card will be charged at the then-current rate. Special introductory offers and waived activation fee expire 12/31/09. All prepaid annual and monthly subscription payments are non-refundable.

About FLO TV Incorporated

The FLO TV service combines the best content, an intuitive user interface and a superior multicast network to deliver a true quality TV viewing experience for consumers. FLO TV offers full–length simulcast and time–shifted programming from the world's best entertainment brands, including CNBC, Comedy Central, MSNBC, MTV, NBC, NBC 2Go, NBC News, NBC Sports and Nickelodeon. Based in San Diego, Calif., FLO TV Incorporated is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated. Further information is available at www.flotv.com.