ViewSonic to Debut Net Appliances

BOSTON (08/01/2000) - ViewSonic Corp., which makes monitors and displays, said Tuesday that it will debut more than 10 Internet appliances in the coming months, including products that will be bundled with AT&T Corp.'s WorldNet Service.

At first, the products offered through AT&T's Internet service will be aimed at large corporate accounts so that companies can give appliances to their customers as a way to thank them and to encourage business relationships. But the appliances also will be offered through the retail market and in volume to other manufacturers who then can put their own brands on the products, said Peter Weedfald, ViewSonic's executive vice president of corporate communications and emerging business.

The devices bundled with the AT&T WorldNet Service will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. AT&T will charge US$4.95 per month for the service and less than $500 for the devices, which will be as easy to use as a television set, Weedfald said.

The idea behind the appliances is that most everyone knows how to operate a TV and that, if Internet access were as easy to get as switching on a television set, more people would use the Net. Internet devices eschew hard drives, DVD or CD options, and stick with providing basic Internet access functions like e-mail and Web surfing.

Besides the deal with AT&T that is aimed primarily at corporate customers that want to offer devices to their own customers as a means of thanks, View Sonic also will offer the Internet appliances through retail channels early next year. The Walnut, California-based company also will become an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) provider, offering appliances in volume that other manufacturers can put their own brand names on, Weedfald said.

ViewSonic, in Walnut, can be reached at +1-909-444-8800 or http://www.viewsonic.com/.

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