Hutchison, the people behind the 3 network, has announced the X-Series from 3, partnering with Skype, Sling Media, Yahoo!, Nokia, Google, eBay, Microsoft, Orb and Sony Ericsson to offer what it boldly describes as “the true power of broadband internet over the mobile.”
What that means in reality is flat-fee pricing for a range of data-hungry services from a compatible handset – those being (at time of launch) the Nokia N73 and Sony Ericsson W950i Walkman phone. Hutchison hopes the flat-fee will appeal to anyone put off data services by fear of the hefty bill at the end of the month – although as yet, we don’t know what that monthly figure will actually be.
Heading those services is Skype – you can make and receive unlimited Skype calls with Skype PC users anywhere in the world, along with other Skype 3 mobile customers. There’s also the option of using a Slingbox (hardware not included) to watch terrestrial TV, Freeview, cable, and satellite TV on your handset, as well as controlling your home personal video recorder (PVR). Orb offers you access to digital content on your home PC (music files, digital photos, videos etc), with an interface speciifically designed for X-Series handsets.
There’s also the option of instant messaging via Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger to another X-Series handset or a PC, along with web browsing via Google or Yahoo! search engine. And if you like eBay, there’s real-time bidding on there too.
The flat-fee will be on top of your 3 subscription, there is the usual “fair usage” clause and some services (Orb and Slingbox ) will initially be charged at a higher price point. The X-Series from 3 will be lanched in the UK on December 1st 2007. We should have more detail on this later today, after the official press conference.