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March 28, 1996

TRANSPHONE CREATES INTERNET TERMINAL+PHONE, FAX

By CBR Staff Writer

Being built around a vintage 80286 processor, it can hardly be called a no-compromises device, but Ottawa, Ontario firm TransPhone LLC can has crammed a remarkable number of functions into its $350 – $500 with color – contender for the Internet terminal stakes. Called the TransPhone, it includes Internet telephony, but is primarily a loss leader for the subscription information and shopping services the company plans to offer. According to Reuter, it has developed its own virtual shopping mall, and as well as charging users a monthly subscription, it looks for transaction fees for products bought in its electronic shopping malls. Users would also have access to everything else on the Internet at no further charge. TransPhone says it is in talks with US retail chains and postal agencies about marketing the product as a means of access to those organizations’ services. The device, which weighs 6 lbs 8 oz and looks like a small facsimile machine, is driven by a 1Mb 80286 and has a F14.4Kbps modem and two PC Card slots for optional features. It also has telephone handset, full facsimile machine capabilities and a fold-out, full-size keyboard, and comes with a credit card debit mechanism for on-line impulse buying. The company plans to launch the TransPhone first in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in June, with launches in eight other US markets in the plan for 1996 and another 50 cities in 1997. The Ottawan is majority-owned by Koerner Capital Corp, which is the investment vehicle of entrepreneur John Koerner, who last year sold his Barq’s Inc root beer company to the Coca-Cola Co.

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