Lycos Asia Launches 'Intelligent' Portal Assistant

As part of a broader strategic alliance agreement, pan-Asian Internet portal Lycos Asia Pte. Ltd. and Mindmaker Inc. announced on Thursday the launch of NETi, an "intelligent," Web-based portal assistant software offering.

NETi, which can help users with services ranging from entertainment to checking e-mail, is now available for free download from Lycos Asia's Singapore and Malaysia sites, the companies said in a joint statement.

Next, NETi will be rolled out to Lycos Asia's Indian and Philippine sites by the end of October, and by early next year, the companies expect to bring the product to Chinese-speaking markets of Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. Lycos Asia later this year plans to launch additional localized portals in Asia, the company said.

Available in two iterations, users can choose between basic version of NETi includes animation, text-based communication and link connection to Web sites, or an enhanced version which also includes text-to-speechcapabilities.

The software runs on any PC with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 9x/ME or Windows NT/2000 operating system, with Internet Explorer 4.0 and DCOM 1.3 installed.

The offering marks the beginning of a strategic partnership between Lycos Asia and Mindmaker, a San Jose, California-based developer of intelligent portal assistants, speech interfaces and other artificial intelligence technologies.

Together, the companies aim to explore opportunities for the commercialization, application and deployment of Web-based intelligent assistants.

Lycos Asia is a joint venture between Waltham, Massachusetts-based Lycos Inc. and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.

Lycos Asia, in Singapore, can be reached via the web at http://www.lycosasia.com/. Mindmaker, in San Jose, California, is at +1-408-467-9200, or at http://www.mindmaker.com/.

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