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Softbank iPhone 1-seg/battery first impression | by Steve Nagata
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Softbank iPhone 1-seg/battery first impression

One of the first (and if you ask me, more trivial) complaints about

the Japanese iPhone I heard was it's lack of a 1-seg digital

television reciever. Of course as Japan has a proprietary network I

was hardly suprised and was fine with the ommision. I've had 1-seg

phones before, and it seemed quite gimmiky. Sure the reception is waay

better than old analog portable tvs, but nowhere as good as a digital

download. Of course the fact that Japanese television is mostly

mondless crap that makes MTV look highbrow may have effected my

opinion as well.

Then, out of the blue, Softbank announced a portable 1-seg solution

for the iphone. Not only would it enable the iPhone to receive

digital tv broadcasts, but it would also double as an external

battery. I had to admit, my curiousitu was piqued.

Well it's out (in limited release) in Japan now, so I here I go again.

Trying out some useless tech gizmo of the sake of humanity (hey, it

helps me sleep through the night ok?)


How does it work?

It's actually quite a trick. I have to admit that I wouldn't have

thought it could be done so easily. As the iPhone has np video in

capability (that we know of), the 1-seg unit actually streams the

video over wifi. When you power the unit up, it created an ad-hoc wifi

network. You can access this network via the iPhones wireless

settings. No passwords required, so if you see someone usog one of

these feel free to pirate he connection.

Once connected, you use the softbank provided app (free of charge) to

connect and you are ready to go!

Note that you maintain your data connection, so the double networks

will eat battery life for breakfast.


The software is bare bones, but functional. No recording of course and

I havnt figured put how to access extra content links. Actually the

app is quite twitchy and I find any touch of the screen while watching

a program drops you back to the menu. Kind of a pain really.


To make up for the extra battery drain, the device includes a buillt

in 1200 mAh li-on battery pack and a USB-out port you can use to

charge up the phone. This should be enough to at least half charge the

phone, even when streaming video. Kind of am elegant touch

considering the cludgy nature of the addon.

I have to admit I'm pretty impressed. It's definitely not for

everyone, but softbank has come up with a pretty impressive accessory

for the iPhone. Definitely has possibilities for future applications.


Flickr only let's me put one picture per post, but will add some

screenshots to my flickrfeed.

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Taken on January 5, 2009