Internet access to the developing world

Vodafone announced 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. The Webbox includes a sleek, black, 14 x 25cm QWERTY keyboard, and 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.

The Webbox Opera Mini browser runs over the 2.5G and EDGE mobile networks, compressing data by around 90% and 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 announced that they will start selling the Webbox next week. Other markets across Vodafone’s emerging market footprint will launch in 2011.

Source:  Vodafone

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