America Online, Inc. (NASDAQ:AOL) is
launching Instant AOL, an instant-on version of its service
available on a new line of home Internet appliances called the
Touch Pad created by Gateway. Instant AOL is a customized version
of the AOL service that connects the consumer to AOL as soon as
they turn on the device and offers AOL members their regular
benefits plus features and functionality specially configured for
the Touch Pad.
The Touch Pad is a compact, easy-to-use touchscreen device that
provides access to the Instant AOL service with an interface
designed for use in high-traffic areas of the home where most
families spend much of their time, such as the kitchen or family
"Instant AOL is all about making the Internet even more
convenient than ever before. A lot of families keep their PC in a
bedroom or study, but spend most of their time in the kitchen and
family room," said Barry Schuler, president of the Dulles,
Va.-based AOL Interactive Services. "By adding a Touch Pad to their
home, they'll now be able to access AOL's convenient services while
they're doing other daily activities."
Instant AOL is designed with large, bold icons for use through
the touchscreen, and brings forward content and features
particularly convenient for use in either the kitchen -- like
information on home and family, recipes, and shopping time savers
for groceries and gifts -- or the family room -- such as TV and
movie listings and online music. The new service offers AOL members
e-mail, instant messaging, "My Calendar," and chat, as well as
access to the entire Internet.
The Touch Pad will be offered at retail for $599. The key
technological features of the Touch Pad are its Transmeta Crusoe
processor and Netscape's Gecko browsing engine. The appliance also
operates on the Mobile Linux operating system.
"Instant AOL on the Touch Pad represents a continuation of our
successful partnership with Gateway and adds to the growing ranks
of 'AOL Anywhere' products we are offering consumers. Our members
are increasingly intent on being able to access the service in a
variety of ways, and with Instant AOL we are making that a
reality," said Schuler.