Apparently even stalwart carrier partners like Qualcomm (QCOM) are beginning to realize that AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, et al aren't necessarily the hottest retailers of content to consumers. According to an article in Telephony the FLO TV mobile video unit will begin augmenting their carrier wholesale business by marketing the service directly to consumers for use with in-vehicle entertainment systems and a variety of other portable wi-fi enabled devices (e.g. netbooks, smartphones, connected gaming systems, etc.). Qualcomm is, it would seem, trying to get FLO-enabled receivers embedded in a broad range of new consumer electronic devices and building plug-in receiver accessories for existing products...probably, in part, to compete with upcoming WiMax video initiatives.
As mentioned in previous posts, FLO TV gives users a high quality mobile TV viewing experience, with full length (though old school linear) programming from NBCU, CBS, MTV Networks, Fox, ESPN, etc...but has gotten very limited traction due to partner operators' seeming indifference to the product (very few handsets support it) & lack of reasonable geographic coverage. The latter issue should be resolved as they pick up a bunch of network spectrum immediately after the broadcast TV digital transition on June 12th, and obviously this D2C initiative is an attempt to fix the former.
Now the big question...is a company deeply rooted in the technology infrastructure business like Qualcomm going to be any better of a retailer of this mobile entertainment product than the operators? Let's hope so. I recommend they use Apple, as opposed to say...Nokia, as a benchmark.