Proving that corporate agendas sometimes can't be put aside long enough to create a unified computing platform for the world's poor, Microsoft has unveiled "FonePlus," a concept device making good on its proposal to use smartphones as the basis for sending computers deep into emerging markets. Unfortunately we've been unable to dig up any eye candy, but FonePlus looks to follow Gates' formula pretty closely: you get a CE-based smartphone (likely watered down from the full Windows Mobile package) with TV out and an external keyboard connection. The logic behind FonePlus suggests that phones and televisions are pervasive even in some of the world's poorest regions, making the product an easy sell -- plus, Internet access is part and parcel with the phone, something OLPC doesn't provide out of the box. Whether FonePlus will see production remains to be seen, but Microsoft's studying the idea closely -- and when you get snubbed by OLPC in favor of Linux, well, it's no surprise to see them come out swinging.

HDTV Listings for July 28, 2006