FW: Free service links digital cell phones to Internet

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From: Dan Kohn (dan@teledesic.com)
Date: Tue Feb 29 2000 - 17:10:30 PST

This service is amazing, as it turns push info (stock quotes, weather,
traffic) into pull, without having to wait for WAP or charging a penny. No
revenue model of course, but that's so overrated today.

                - dan

Daniel Kohn <mailto:dan@dankohn.com>
tel:+1-425-602-6222  fax:+1-425-602-6223

-----Original Message----- From: Tren Griffin Sent: Tuesday, 2000-02-29 13:28 To: Dan Kohn Subject: Free service links digital cell phones to Internet

Free service links digital cell phones to Internet

by Peter Lewis Seattle Times technology reporter Here's a story for the new millennium that reflects the growing popularity of the wireless world: A Seattle-based wireless technology company is turning digital cell phones with text messaging service into Internet devices - at no charge.

Xypoint unveiled the free service at the Wireless 2000 show in New Orleans yesterday. In coming days, it plans to announce deals with various partners who, for a fee, will offer consumers more sophisticated, voice-based services.

For example, consumers would use their digital cell phones to make stock trades, exchange e-mail and participate in online auctions, using their voices to retrieve data and to complete transactions.

For now, an estimated 40 million to 50 million digital-cell-phone users in the U.S. can start getting wireless, text-based Internet service called WebWirelessNow at no charge. The on-demand service allows consumers to receive stock quotes, traffic updates and horoscopes, among other services, as pager messages on their phones.

Curious consumers can log onto http://www.webwirelessnow.com and sign up for the service. The registration process requires users to enter their digital phone number and e-mail address and select the services they wish to receive.

The only airtime charge occurs in a brief setup call. In a technical sense, all subsequent calls using the service are never completed, so subscribers incur no airtime charges. Instead, "calls" hit Xypoint's wireless-carrier network.

"Before the call is completed, we capture the information," said Tim Zenk, company spokesman. The company's server instantly links the caller's phone number with the person's selections and sends the data back as a page.

The user then sees the same text data that appears on the selected service's Web site. For traffic information, for example, users can get real-time updates about blocking accidents from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The cost of text messaging varies with phone carriers. It's included with some cell-phone programs and can run from $1 to $10 a month for others, Zenk said.

As customers adopt the technology, the company plans to offer "deeper applications" for a fee. For example, users could opt for a stock-trade service or get more specific traffic information using voice-recognition technology.

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