Northwest NEWS

November 29, 1999

Business

iPhone helps to get technophobes online

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Know anyone in your family or circle of friends who is afraid of computers, but not afraid of phones, can type, and wants to easily learn how to exchange e-mail or shop online? Then you might want to steer them toward the new iPhone (Internet phone), available from local distributors through Internet service provider (ISP) Big Planet, consistently rated one of the top three ISPs in the country by consumer ratings website "CNET.com."

   The iPhone looks like a laptop computer with a phone receiver and dial pad built in. It has a keyboard and tilt screen, but novices don't have to negotiate a mouse--all Internet commands are given by touching the screen. Of course, you still have to use the keyboard to type messages. Easy for anyone to install, you just take it out of the box, plug it in, and you're online at the touch of a finger.

   The iPhone enables you to talk on the phone and surf the Web on the same machine at the same time. When travelling, a Big Planet subscription gives your iPhone e-mail and Internet access from any location, instead of your ISP account being tied to your home phone, like standard accounts. Just plug the iPhone into any phone line and you're in business. Big Planet offers 2,500 POPs (Point of Presence, i.e., phone numbers throughout the country through which you can access the Internet). That's compared to 1,700 POPs offered by America Online, the nation's number one ISP, said Kim Waters, local Big Planet representative.

   The phone, manufactured by Infogear, retails for $399. The phone comes equipped with a 56K modem, two phone line ports, built-in voicemail service, and 24-hour tech support, seven days a week.

   "The iPhone makes you fully e-commerce capable," said Waters. "Internet usage doubles every 50 days, and 65,000 websites are being added every day. There were 50 websites on the Internet when Clinton was elected in 1992. E-commerce is the fastest-growing industry in world history. As many people already know, Internet access makes shopping a whole lot easier than fighting traffic in this area."

   Anyone wanting more information about iPhones can contact Waters at 425-822-4421 or at www.kimsplanet.com.