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January 14, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:06pm


By CBR Staff Writer

When it comes to Internet appliances, much of the attention seems focused on turning televisions into Web browsers. But National Semiconductor Corp spin-off, InfoGear Technology Corp is taking another tack by putting a browser and a VGA screen onto a telephone. Manufactured by call-display maker Cidco Inc (CI No 3,038), the iPhone uses browser software developed by InfoGear and connects via telephone to any Internet Service Provider who has the iPhone proxy server. The software allows for browsing and electronic mail. The iPhone uses a National Semiconductor FX 161 MIPS chip and has about 1Mb RAM. It comes with a 16-shade grey scale VGA touch-screen, a Qwerty keyboard and uses a regular telephone line. InfoGear says the iPhone browsing experience looks and feels pretty much the same as a personal computer. InfoGear believes users will browse through content providers like BigBook (which happens to be optimizing its site for InfoGear) and then initiate a phone call simply by touching the appropriate hotlink. Eventually, this feature could be used for telephone calls carried over the Internet, making regular old long-distance seem obsolete, so the long-gestating theory goes. The trick for InfoGear will be to convince service providers to buy the server software that iPhone requires. Without the InfoGear proxy server, the iPhone is just an expensive telephone. InfoGear says it will announce a deal with its first service provider any day now, but isn’t saying which. The company has yet to announce pricing on its server software. The iPhone is being tested right now. It will ship in volume by the end of summer for about $500.

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