Consumer electronics maker Sony Corp said on Wednesday it planned to ship in December samples of a mini digital broadcast tuner module that would enable mobile phones to act as televisions.
The tuner module, which is smaller than a postage stamp, can be used in mobile applications such as cell phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs).
Sony, the world’s largest consumer electronics manufacturer, says the module is the smallest of its kind and has the lowest power consumption.
Japan plans to roll out terrestrial digital broadcasting in certain regions by the end of 2003 and launch a signal specifically designed for mobile applications in 2005.
The sample module will sell for 50,000 yen ($445 USD) with strong demand expected from manufacturers looking to develop new products using the tiny chip, a Sony spokeswoman said.
With its small size and low power consumption, the new module from Sony seems to solve the two major obstacles to TV-equipped mobile phones: battery life and bulk.
NEC Corp, Japan’s largest maker of mobile phones, unveiled a prototype handset in July that allows users to watch TV and said it was targeting a commercial launch sometime in 2005.
NEC said it expected its TV phones to sell for 6,000-7,000 yen ($53-$62 USD) more than regular models.