Qualcomm CEO: Flo TV flailing

Flo TV, a service from Qualcomm that delivers television shows to mobile phones and other portable devices, hasn’t found the audience the company had hoped for, according to Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs.

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital conference, Jacobs said Flo TV hasn’t done well despite Qualcomm’s efforts to build an audience for the service with high-profile advertisements during the Super Bowl and elsewhere. “There are people who love it, but the numbers are not nearly what we expected,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said he envisions Flo TV evolving into a more general system for delivering data to mobile devices that isn’t limited to video. Qualcomm designed Flo TV as a service that can efficiently deliver content to a wide audience through traditional broadcasting methods, an approach that can reduce the network congestion caused by individuals streaming video to their mobile devices.

Jacobs showed a screen technology called Mirasol developed by Qualcomm that he said would allow cellphones and other mobile devices to display text with the legibility of an electronic-book reader such as Kindle, but with colour and video capabilities. Jacobs said Mirasol will consume so little power compared with other devices that handset makers will be able to use it to leave mobile-phone screens lit all the time, rather than shutting them off when they’re not in use.

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