This is an interesting idea coming out of Vodafone Group. The Webbox is a Vodafone innovation developed specifically for customers in emerging markets, where technology and cost barriers often exclude many from enjoying affordable, ready internet access at home or in the workplace.

A sleek, black, 14 x 25cm QWERTY keyboard, the Webbox uses standard RCA connectors to plug into the television. With no set-up required, the plug and play keyboard converts any standard domestic television into an internet portal.

The Webbox home screen allows the customer to navigate easily between the core services: Opera Mini 5.1 internet access; SMS and email messaging; internet search and media services including FM radio and a photo gallery tool, as well as a music player.

The Webbox Opera Mini browser runs over the 2.5G and EDGE mobile networks, compressing data by around 90% and so serving fast-loading internet pages. The browser homepage comes with bookmarks such as news, sport and social networking sites as well as locally relevant apps such as a job search and application service. In addition, the portal comes with some games, a dictionary and a basic text editor.

It will be launched in South Africa, and some other African countries, then India.