Amstrad has unveiled a telephone with email and fax capabilities, developed in conjunction with BT.
The E-mailer personal communication centre, priced at £79.99, allows users to send and receive email, send a fax and store numbers and email addresses. Each email session will cost users 12p plus local call charges.
Alan Sugar, chairman at Amstrad, said the company hopes to sell more than one million units to UK homes during the next two years, making the "kind of penetration BSkyB did with its satellite receivers".
The E-mailer, which also has a back-lit LCD screen and a pop-out keyboard, features a digital answering machine and an address book that can store 700 names. All contact details can be transferred to and from a portable address book called the Pocket Dock-it.
Sugar said the phone's price would be subsidised through the sale of adverts on its screen. The device can download adverts during off-peak hours and display them to the user at a later date.
The 12p charge will apply for receiving multiple emails in one session. But the cost could mount up for sending separate emails throughout the day. The device - which will be sold by Amstrad's new subsidiary, Amserve - is available in Dixons stores. There will be 500 units available in each store for the next three months. Bulk shipping will follow.
Despite the trend for interactive services through the television, Sugar said TV-based email will not catch on. He said email could be brought to the masses only through a standalone device.
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