UPDATED 16:19 EST / OCTOBER 04 2010

Qualcomm Shuts Down FLO TV, Promotes Augmented Reality Apps with Android Contest

When one door shuts, another opens.  It looks like Qualcomm is shutting down its direct-to-consumer television service, FLO TV, according to reports at Engadget.  The subscription service came with its own device, which was sold at retailers like Best Buy.  But the lack of traction and slew of free and premium alternatives diminished the need for another device to carry around.

It’s something many a device-maker feared, even when it came to early tablets and netbooks.  But smartphones and tablets have chosen to become inclusive devices, supporting the variable needs of individual consumers, unlike portable, mobile TVs.  From Engadget,

According to our sources, Qualcomm is informing partner retailers to stop selling FLO TV products immediately, and sure enough, a glance over at Best Buy’s website reveals that only a couple of accessories remain in stock. We’re guessing that Wally World is hoping to rid itself of as much stock as possible before the news goes mainstream, but in all likelihood, those units will too vanish into the night in short order.

However, Qualcomm, the company behind Snapdragon processors featured in many Android devices, is taking a more integrated route to mobile entertainment.  This morning came news of Qualcomm’s new VP of business development, Vikas Jain. The company also announced a contest to develop an augmented reality app, based on its software.  It’s telling of Qualcomm’s plans with its software, and speaks to the tremendous potential behind augmented reality mobile applications.

Positioning itself for continued integrated processes is something Qualcomm has always done pretty well.  The failure of FLO TV is just one instance of a trend we’re going to see continued in the coming years, as niche devices emerge for specific user bases, all with a high amount of function overlap.  This will be especially evident in kids toys markets, as well as task-specific devices such as readers.

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