Amstrad unveils new telephone

The e-m@iler plus

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Amstrad has unveiled a new silver telephone.

The "phone" lets people call others and speak to them. Equally, it lets people receive phone calls.

And there's an answering machine built in as well. Which is handy if you’re out. Or don't want to speak to someone because you’re busy.

Oh yes, and bolted on is a small screen and keypad which lets people send and receive email, faxes, SMS and gain access to the Web.

The e-m@iler plus is the next generation of phone from Amstrad that the electronics group reckons will bring email and Web access to the masses.

According to Amstrad chairman Sir Alan Sugar, this little machine will "take the home technology market by storm".

At £99.99, the e-m@iler plus provides Web access using Microsoft Mobile Explorer, access to antique Sinclair ZX Spectrum games plus a slot for secure credit card transactions.

All online activity is done on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means that the more people use it, the more it costs them. There are no plans at the moment to introduce a flat-fee version.

However, Sir Alan insists that this is the cheapest way to get online. Time will tell.

Some 250,000 units are to be produced in the first year, supported by a TV ad campaign due to launch early next month.

Currently, there are no plans for the e-m@iler plus to be sold outside the UK.

Its previous incarnation, the e-m@iler, was launched in April 2000 and sold 110,000 units. Around 85,000 are still currently in use, although the product has been the subject of criticism.

Indeed, responding to one critical newspaper report Sir Alan urge users to email the journalist behind the story to defend the e-m@iler's honour. Some did – others didn't.

And Sir Alan's passion for the phone also reportedly led to the resignation of former Amstrad CEO, Bob Watkins.

Of course, all that was forgotten today as the entrepreneur lifted the lid on his latest creation. We’ve been promised an e-m@iler plus to review.

To find the low-down on the e-m@iler plus visit Amstrad’s Web site here. ®

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