Eat My Grits, FLO

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Surely you must have seen this one coming.

In news originally reported yesterday by, Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) is gearing up to kill its fledgling FLO TV business.

Really? You mean folks don't want to pay a premium for mobile television on small screens with an equally small collection of channels? Couch potatoes on the go don't want to lug around yet another clunky device?

Yes, we all saw it coming, but it's still a surprise to see the service axed so soon.

How many companies flop within a year of its original rollout? How many ventures flop during the same year in which they invest in a costly Super Bowl commercial?

To its credit, it's not as if Qualcomm was oblivious to the shortcomings of trying to market a dedicated device. It offered FLO TV as an upsell item for AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) smartphone customers. It also tried to smoke out a buyer this summer for its FLO TV money pit.

Short of DirecTV (NYSE: DTV  ) in the realm of high-end RV owners, premium mobile television has been a bust.

Remember the excitement when Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) rolled out Backseat TV three years ago? How many of the satellite radio giant's 19.5 million subscribers do you think are paying a premium for three grainy television channels? It can't be a whole lot, because Sirius XM doesn't really discuss the offering.

There just isn't a market for FLO, when Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) App Store is loaded with free ways to watch ABC and laptop owners can power up Hulu when they have connectivity.

FLO TV came too late to matter, impress, and survive.

Is there a future for premium mobile television? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks mobile television is a set on wheels. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned here. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Rick Munarriz

Rick has been writing for Motley Fool since 1995 where he's a Consumer and Tech Stocks Specialist. Yes, that's a long time. He's been an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and a portfolio lead analyst for Motley Fool Supernova since each newsletter service's inception. He earned his BBA and MBA from the University of Miami, and he now lives a block from his alma mater.

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