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Wireless Web, Email & Chat... For Kids

Boot Camp feature for Monday, February 12, 2001

Putting chat, email and the wireless Web... in the hands of kids. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. They're what fueled the growth of America Online in the early years. Chat and instant messaging. A company called Cybiko... has taken the lead in putting that technology in a handheld device aimed at the teen market. The colorful Cybikos were introduced a year ago... and initially allowed kids to play games... store names and phone numbers and chat with other Cybiko users within 300 feet. Company President Don Wisniewski says with new gateways for home computers... .and shopping malls... .and a wireless modem on the way kids can connect to the Web, chat and instant message anywhere...

"Kids do demand these kinds of technologies, but you have to do it affordably. You just can't put this kind of technology out there four or five hundred dollars and expect them to buy. Cybiko at 99 dollars with a CDPD modem for another hundred, hundred fifty dollars and service fees, you are wireless connected to the Internet and all your friends by the way, can connect through your device to the Internet as well. So we have a wireless portal through the Cybiko now for under three hundred dollars."

AOL thinks enough of the idea to have made a substantial investment in Cybiko. And if you're jealous about what this handheld for kids can do... the company is coming out with a product for grown-ups too...

"It's a card that clicks on the back of a Palm Pilot. It allows that Palm Pilot to connect with Cybikos as well as other Palms. Now you have Palms talking to Palms and that product's going to be available in the second quarter of this year."

The expected price... about two hundred dollars. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg Radio.