Ballmer reveals mobile TV smartphone

3GSM: The Trilogy will underpin BT's mobile TV service, and could help Microsoft to carve a large niche in the mobile multimedia space

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer showed off a Windows Mobile smartphone that's designed to display mobile TV at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The Trilogy is thought to be the world's first smartphone capable of connecting over a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) network and handling IP packets.

It will be used by BT and Virgin Mobile in the UK for the BT Movio service. As reported yesterday, Movio will allow mobile users to watch TV on their mobile handsets.

"I think with appropriate cleverness on the part of device manufacturers and mobile operators there will be very compelling scenarios that will make mobile TV very important," said Ballmer at a keynote speech at 3GSM.

The Trilogy was designed by BT, The Technology Partnership (TTP), a UK technology firm, and Taiwanese mobile handset manufacturer HTC. It runs on Windows Mobile 5.0.

"IP is a great way of delivering multimedia combined with flexibility and rights management," said Mathew Palmer of TTP. "It could be used for any form of multimedia data, not just television," Palmer added.

According to information released by BT on Tuesday, the Trilogy also contains the latest version of Microsoft's digital rights management software, and will include applications such as Windows Media Player, MSN Messenger and Internet Explorer.

Ballmer cited this mobile TV smartphone as evidence of Microsoft's growing ability to play a part in the delivery of multimedia to mobile phones, and suggested that Vista, the next version of its Windows operating system, would help.

"This year with Vista we are really building on Media Centre's ability to record programmes — being able to access this on a mobile device will be very important for consumers," said Ballmer.

A picture of Movio's Trilogy smartphone

The Movio Trilogy