The device known as the Vodafone Webbox, is an 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, the company has said.
The Webbox is a sleek, black, 14 x 25cm QWERTY keyboard, which 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, according to Vodafone.
“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,” Patrick Chomet, Vodafone’s Group Director of Terminals said.
Vodafone indicates that 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.
According to Vodafone, all that is required to activate the Webbox is a Vodafone SIM.
The product has already been launched in South Africa.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi