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Qualcomm Rolls out Handheld FLO TV

Qualcomm unveiled its handheld FLO TV this week, in time for the holiday season. The wireless telecom company created the device specifically to work with its own mobile video service, FLO TV, based on its MediaFLO transmission standard. AT&T and Verizon use MediaFLO for mobile video delivery, though a limited number of handsets employ the technology. FLO TV President Bill Stone said the company would continue working with carriers and OEM partners.

Qualcomm has invested a reported $800 million in spectrum, equipment and content to launch FLO TV, which is now available in around 100 markets.

The touchscreen FLO TV can play live and time-shifted content with no buffering or downloading, according to its maker. It carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail prices of $249.99. Service will start at $8.99 a month for a three-year, prepaid subscription. (Verizon offers a $10 and a $15 video package with a data plan.)

FLO provides 20 networks to AT&T and Verizon, including CNBC, Comedy Central, MSNBC, MTV, NBC, NBC 2Go, NBC News, NBC Sports and Nickelodeon among others. The channel line-up for the FLO device has yet to be announced.

The device has a 3.5 inch diagonal screen and measures 4.4-by-3-by-0.5 inches and weighs just over five ounces. Its battery is said to support more than five hours of active FLO TV viewing or 300 hours standby. It also includes a built-in kickstand for positioning the device upright on a flat surface, built-in stereo speakers and a reminder function.