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Linux powers TV-enabled mobile phone

Mar 31, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

[Updated Apr. 1] — Motorola has used Linux to build a 3G, touchscreen-enabled mobile phone that can receive and record video broadcast in DVB-H format (digital video broadcast, handhelds). The MobileTV DH02 boasts gesture-based UI, Bluetooth, a GPS receiver, and voice-assisted navigation software, Motorola says.

In January, Motorola announced a dedicated DH01 DVB-H handheld without mobile phone functionality. The company says that integrating the new HDSPA/GPRS cellular modem as a backchannel enables mobile operators to provide “rich interactive services.”

Compared to the earlier DH01, the DH02 adds GPS navigation capabilities, as well as a gesture-based touchscreen interface that enables “click, drag, and roll” of the icon-based interface. The WQVGA display (480 x 272) is now 4.8 inches (up from 4.3 inches), and like the DV01, can render DVB-H at “up to” 25 frames per second, Motorola says. The device is said to support H.264 AVC QVGA and MPEG-4 SP level 3 QVGA video formats, as well as AAC and MP3 audio formats.

Motorola MobileTV DH02
(Click to enlarge)

Motorola did not disclose details about the DH02's processor, but said that the device is equipped with 64MB of RAM and 64MB of flash memory, with the option to boost the latter to 512MB. I/O includes a mini A/B USB connector, a USIM/UICC card reader, and earphone and power jacks. Bluetooth connectivity is now available, enabling wireless stereo audio links. The device measures 5.3 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches (134 x 81 x 16 mm) and weighs about a half a pound (240 grams).

The DH02 offers DVR (digital video recording) via an SD/MMC (Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard) Flash slot. About 90 minutes of video fits in 256MB of storage, Motorola said. Even without a card, there's a five-minute memory buffer for live pause and time shift of TV. Battery life is claimed to be four hours.

Motorola's MobileTV DH01
(Click for details)

Additional touted features include:

  • Live DVB-H TV with PVR capabilities — timeshift, live pause, frame grabbing
  • Tele Atlas map views, voice-activated directions, and handsfree calls to points of interest
  • Automatic channel scan and listing
  • Rendering of video, music, and pictures stored on microSD cards
  • Points of Interest with voice assisted guidance, real-time traffic information and speed alerts
  • E-call (Emergency Calls) and SMS support
  • Portrait and landscape auto-flip — use portrait view for navigation and POI calls, and landscape for mobile TV and personal media entertainment

The DH02's icon-based interface
(Click to enlarge)

An offshoot of the terrestrial DVB-T and the satellite DVB-S standards, DVB-H is one of three major competing standards for wireless TV broadcast to portable devices. The other two are Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), which is being used extensively in South Korea, and QualComm's MediaFlo, which is being tested by Verizon Wireless in the U.S.

DVB-H has a beachhead in several dozen countries, and is most firmly established in Europe, with commercial services available in Italy, Finland and other countries. According to a Motorola spokesperson, the company will market the device primarily in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) market. The company also sells DVB-H broadcasting equipment, and is a major backer of the standard along with Nokia.

The announcement came a week after Motorola announced that in 2009 the company would split into two independent, publicly-traded companies: Mobile Devices, for selling handsets and accessories; and Broadband & Mobility Solutions, which includes networking equipment, set-top boxes, and other products.


Motorola did not provide pricing or availability information on the Mobile TV DH02. The company will be demonstrating the device at Motorola's booth (#1806) at CTIA Wireless 2008 this week in Las Vegas.

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