AOL Signs Handheld Deals with Compaq, Casio

LONDON (01/05/2000) - America Online Inc. announced two separate agreements today for services that let e-mail be accessed wirelessly over Compaq Computer Corp. and Casio Computer Co. Ltd. handheld computers.

AOL is developing software that will allow subscribers to send and receive their e-mail with the Compaq Aero palm-size PC and Casio's Casseopeia line of palm-size PCs, AOL said in joint statements with Comapaq and Casio.

The software for accessing e-mail wirelessly over the handheld PCs should be available by the first quarter of this year. "Users can expect the software sooner rather than later," said Julie Mason, a spokeswoman for AOL.

The software will be free for download to AOL members, and users will not be charged extra fees for the wireless e-mail access, Mason said.

AOL is demonstrating the e-mail services over the handheld Compaq and Casio PCs at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

AOL has been aggressively developing wireless services for its subscribers.

Last month, AOL announced it bought Tegic Communications Inc., a company that produces text-entry software for most major mobile phone manufacturers. AOL has been working with Tegic to develop a WAP (wireless application protocol)-enabled AOL Instant Messenger application for wireless devices. [See "AOL Buys Tegic, Wireless Text Entry Co.," Dec. 1.]Also in December, AOL purchased online mapping and navigation service provider MapQuest.com Inc. for US$1.1 billion. AOL said it plans to accelerate the distribution of MapQuest's services to wireless non-PC devices, including smart phones and handheld computers. [See "AOL to Buy MapQuest.com for $1.1 Billion," Dec. 22.]AOL and Compaq have numerous past agreements, though this is the first agreement between AOL and Casio, AOL's Mason said.

AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-448-8700 or at http://www.aol.com. Compaq, in Houston, Texas, can be reached at +1-281-370-0670, or at http://www.compaq.com. Casio, in Dover, New Jersey, can be reached at +1-973-361-5400 or at http://www.casio.com.

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