Vodafone Webbox internet keyboard plugs into your TV

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Vodafone has announced Webbox, an internet-enabled keyboard intended to turn a regular TV into an “internet portal”. Based around a 14 x 25 cm QWERTY ‘board with an RCA connection for the TV, the Vodafone Webbox packs the Opera Mini 5.1 browser together with support for SMS and email messaging, an FM radio, photo gallery and a music player.

Connectivity is via an integrated GSM/EDGE modem (no 3G), though thanks to Opera’s compression technology – which can shrink pages by up to 90-percent – Vodafone still reckons that speeds should be palatable. The carrier will preload bookmarks suited to its entry-level audience, including online news, dictionary, social networks, some games and a rudimentary application service.
While we can see many users being keen on the idea, Vodafone is targeting emerging markets with the Webbox, at least initially. South Africa will get the internet keyboard first, from next week, with broader availability in 2011. It will be priced at around €75, with a free 2GB SD card and data purchased on pre-paid SIM.


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