RealTime IT News

AOL to Produce Non-PC Internet Devices

America Online Inc. Friday said it plans to release new Internet access devices that will not require users to own a personal computer.

The new product list includes a screen phone with miniature keyboard and a dictionary-size device enabling users to access e-mail and the Web without a lengthy boot-up process, said an article in The Wall Street Journal.

The product is intended to further AOL's customer reach, secure member loyalty and broaden AOL's advertising reach.

Alcatel SA, a French telecommunications company, is said to be a potential partner with AOL in production of the screen phone. Alcatel's phone runs on AOL partner Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java operating system. AOL recently aligned with Sun following its acquisition of Netscape.

Alcatel said it expects to market its WebTouch screen phone with an American strategic partner but not yet named any companies.

Although the new devices are not be likely to detract from the use of PCs, AOL said it sees this as a next step in cementing its presence in the everyday lives of consumers.