Softbank launches 1-Seg TV tuner for the iPhone

Before the iPhone launched in Japan, analysts and industry experts predicted Apple would face an uphill battle with Japanese consumers already used to fully-featured high-end phones.

One of the features said to be lacking in the iPhone 3G was a 1-Seg digital TV tuner - a popular function in Japanese mobiles.

In now seems that the official iPhone operator in Japan, Softbank, has moved to address the missing functionality with the launch of an official 1-Seg tuner for the Apple mobile.

The 80-gram tuner provides TV over Wi-Fi and doubles as a battery extender when plugged into the iPhone 3G's dock connector.

The add-on offers 3 hours of continuous 1-Seg viewing and will be available in Japan in time for Christmas alongside a free 1-Seg application from the App Store.