Air Mail: Next-Gen Wireless E-Mail
by Nate Heasley for Digital Living Today

Before the Internet there was "Arpanet" -- a data network strung together between universities. It didn't take college students (at least those in the Computer Sciences departments) very long to discover they couldn't live without email. These days, email has become so ubiquitous, it's almost impossible to imagine our lives without it. And what about today's college kids? They're taking the next step with dedicated wireless email devices such as the new Motorola Talkabout T900.

The T900 is the latest in the Talkabout series of cell phones, 2-way radios, and pagers. This one is specifically targeted at 18-24 year olds. The T900 is basically an email-only device, but in focusing on just that one task, it does it very well. The T900 operates on the Motorola reFLEX two-way paging network, and allows instant messaging to any other T900 pager, or any Internet email address. Since it has its own Internet address, anyone can send a message to the pager just like any other email address. The reFlex network also allows for information services, like news, sports and stock updates. It can also deliver responses to queries from enabled websites offering information on traffic, weather, stocks, etc.

The pager has a clamshell design that, when opened, reveals a tiny but usable QWERTY keyboard. Messages are displayed on the 4-line display, which is just large enough to comfortably read short messages. The T900 has an address book that stores up to 250 names with up to phone numbers each, plus email address and a note.

The T900, which comes in four colors to appeal to a younger crowd, promises to make email connectivity and instant chat available anywhere. The T900 slogan is "Talk without talking" and that's exactly what it allows the average college student to do. Since it is so much less intrusive than a cell phone, the T900 is perfect for using in class, or in meetings with venture capitalists, which is what most college kids are doing these days are doing instead of going to class.

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