MWC 2008: Spice Movie Phone has a built-in optical disc drive

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Indian handset manufacturer Spice is unveiling its innovative Movie Phone later today, but I’ve had a go on it already. It’s the first handset to come with a built-in optical disc drive for playing movies, and goes on sale in India this June. The discs are a proprietary format, but they use blue laser technology, and the compression uses the H.264 standard.

The phone has a 2.8-inch screen, and its headphone jack doubles as a TV-Out port for connecting to a big-screen TV. But it’s that optical drive that makes it stand out – you slot the tiny discs into a tray that pops out from the back of the phone – much like loading UMDs into a PSP.

You can fit a two-and-a-half hour film onto one of the discs – and a bit more if the compression is tweaked. The 40 films that’ll be available at launch are mainly Bollywood movies, and Spice told me they’re readying 1,000 more through deals with studios. The films will be sold in mini DVD-like cases for the equivalent of $5.

More shots over the jump…

Here’s a shot of how the disc drive works:

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And here’s a shot of one of the discs:

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Nothing’s been announced regarding distribution outside India and South East Asia yet. Could the Spice Movie Phone be a hit in the West? The flop of UMD, even when backed by Sony, indicates a challenging market for distributing films on yet another disc-based format, compared to sideloading films onto a phone digitally. But you never know…

Find more mobile news in our Mobile World Congress 2008 category

Stuart Dredge

6 comments

  • I think in India spice increase its market share month by month.
    Spice know that what type of handsets wants indian people.Spice launched its MP3 player,its increases its share,then launched Dual gsm and dual gsm/cdma,then it accelerate its share..I think spice works hard in india.
    Sonyericsson,motorola market share decerase month by month.because of their handsets or their prices.

  • WTF!! With sd card reacin 32 Gb how the %$%^ wants this spinnin, Battery hogging , Damage Prone , One time writable, properitry…. media..

    Spice get well SOON!!

  • WTF!! With sd card reacin 32 Gb how the %$%^ wants this spinnin, Battery hogging , Damage Prone , One time writable, properitry…. media..

    Spice get well SOON!!

  • Nice one from Spice dude,
    but the gossip is all abt why they are using discs instead of flash cards and so on …

  • Fantastic idea, and about time too. I think an Iphone like form factor would have been better, with a larger screen, but this works well too. Spice does not manufacture handsets, and is actually a struggling carrier with probably the lowest ARPU’s in India, but this just might be the best thing they ever did. Any idea who is the phone manufacturer?

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