LOS ANGELES (04/05/2000) - America Online Inc. and Gateway 2000 Inc. plan to introduce a family of Internet appliances at the end of the year designed to provide consumers with speedy access to AOL's content and services from anywhere in the home, the companies said today.
The products, which will all run the Linux operating system and AOL's lightweight Gecko Web browser, will include a lightweight "countertop" appliance for the kitchen, a desktop appliance designed to serve as a low-cost alternative to the PC and a wireless Web pad, AOL said in a statement.
AOL Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Case is expected to introduce the new products in a speech kicking off the Internet World trade show here this morning. Case is also due to announce Preview Release 1 of the company's long-awaited Netscape 6 Internet browser.
The appliances tap into a belief that consumers want an easier-to-use, faster and more affordable way to access the Internet than a full-fledged PC. Using a customized version of AOL's Internet access software called "Instant AOL," AOL said the Gateway appliances will automatically connect them with AOL's service as soon as they are switched on.
The appliances will provide access to content geared towards the home, such as recipes, coupons and grocery lists, as well as more traditional services like news, e-mail, AOL's instant messaging and chat applications, AOL said.
The countertop appliance includes a flat-panel touchscreen LCD display and is due to ship at the end of the year, AOL said. The Web pad, which will weigh less than three pounds and connect to the Web using a wireless base station, will ship by early 2001. The desktop appliance, designed as a lower cost alternative to a traditional PCs is expected to go on sale by year's end, AOL said.
AOL didn't provide any pricing information.
AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-448-8700 or at http://www.aol.com/. Gateway, based in North Sioux City, South Dakota, can be reached at +1-605-232-2000 or on the Web at http://www.gateway.com/.