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Qualcomm is dropping Flo TV service

The San Diego company says it's halting sales of the $249 personal television and will stop providing programming to subscribers next year.

October 06, 2010|By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times

Qualcomm Inc. is pulling the plug on Flo TV, its subscription-based mobile television service that uses broadcast signals to bring cable and network content to its hand-held TVs and selected smart phones.

The San Diego company, best known for making telecommunication silicon chips, said in a statement that it had halted sales of the Flo TV , a personal television with a 3.5-inch screen that sold for $249. The device hit the market only about a year ago.

Qualcomm said Tuesday that it would provide programming for subscribers through spring 2011.

The company said there would be some layoffs but gave no numbers. Qualcomm did not respond to requests for an interview.

Qualcomm was not forthcoming about sales of the portable TV, said Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin.

"When companies are really happy with subscriptions and adoption rates for any of their products or services, they tend to share those numbers," Golvin said, "and Qualcomm has never released sales or subscription figures."

"It's safe to say that the adoption of Flo TV, on smart phones or their own portable TVs, never matched their expectations."

Flo TV had many shortcomings, Golvin said, among them a fee for the service, and the fact that it was compatible with only a handful of smart phones.

Qualcomm shares on Tuesday rose 37 cents, or 0.8%, to close at $44.26.

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