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Virgin Lobster 700TV (HTC Monet)

 Lobster 700TV Available now
20th September 2006

This strangely lumpy device is the Virgin Mobile Lobster 700TV, due to be launched by Virgin Mobile in the UK on 1st October 2006.

It's a Windows smartphone, manufactured by HTC and called the "HTC Monet" internally. The strange lump on the side of the Lobster 700TV is there for a reason.. the handset contains a digital TV receiver capable of showing programmes on a 2.2" 240x320 pixel display.

Digital TV? On a phone? It sounds familar, but the Lobster 700TV is not the same as the Nokia N92 or Samsung P910 that use the rival DVB-H platform.. the Lobster 700TV uses a protocol based on the Digital Audio Broadcast standard dubbed DAB TV.

In the UK, the DAB TV service will be operated by BT Movio and will show BBC1, E4 and ITV1 plus a version of Channel 4 called "C4 Mobile", plus DAB radio broadcasts. There's much less choice than on a DVB-H receiver, but the advantage with DAB TV is that it's available right now in many parts of the UK.

 Virgin Mobile Lobster 700TV The inclusion of E4 is a great idea - in the UK it's a digital channel that appeals to the 18-35 demographic which is more in fitting with Virgin Mobile's own target market than some other channels.

Critics of DAB TV say that not only is the choice more restricted than on DVB-H and it consumes more battery power, however BT say that the Movio service is much more widely available, making it ideal if you want digital TV on your phone now. However, both DAB TV and DVB-H look to be a better bet than Vodafone's attempt to stream Sky over 3G which was a bit of a flop.

Oh.. the phone.. yes, we nearly forgot. It's a Windows Mobile 5.0 device with a 240x320 pixel display, tri-band GSM, microSD expandable memory, Bluetooth and a 1.3 megapixel camera. It weighs a fairly hefty 140 grams and has up to 5 hours talktime and 5 days standby time. Most Virgin Mobile contract customers can expect the Lobster 700TV to be free, prepay customers will pay around 199.

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Virgin Lobster 700TV (HTC Monet) at a glance

Available:

October 2006

Network:

GSM 900/1800/1900

Data:

GPRS

Screen:

240x320 pixels, 65k colours

Camera:

1.3 megapixels

Size:

Large "candy bar"
111x58x24mm / 140 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

microSD

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Limited

Battery life:

5 hours talk / 5 days standby

 

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