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French communications specialist COM One SA has taken the wraps off its SurfTV development – a modular TV Internet decoder that allows users to navigate the internet via a television set (CI No 3,208). The company which, to date, has sold digital satellite decoder products, wants to enter the Internet TV market and reckons it will have an TV/internet device that can compete with Microsoft’s Web TV and the like by the end of this year. Officials at COM One said this week that the product will use Spyglass Device Mosaic as an embedded browser (CI No 3,208) and it would deliver a number of communication features including: voice and written e-mail, color minitel, on-screen fax (send and receive), hands-free telephone, and a smart card reader for secured access and electronic commerce. According to Com One, products like the French minitel and teletext have predisposed the French market place to the concept of information appliances. The European internet device market, it says, and in France in particular is expected to grow at a rate that matches or exceeds the US experience. Com One will ship SurfTV in France by the year end and will target the rest of the market later.

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