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Cidco Tries to Expand Email Appliance Niche

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Expanding the niche for an email appliance. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's a small device with an LCD screen and a keyboard... .and so far Cidco has signed up 115 thousand subscribers... .mostly people who don't want a full fledged computer... .

"Ease of use is really a key factor. This product doesn't require any knowledge of how the Internet works or how computers work. The other thing about it that is unique is that PCs, particularly the low end PCs are typically pretty large devices that you would leave in one spot in your home."

Cidco VP David L'Heureux. The company's Mivo and MailStation devices sell for as little as 99 dollars and provide email to computer-less homes starting at 9.99 a month. Just plug one into a phone line and follow the on screen directions. The latest models... are going cordless. They connect to a base station like a cordless phone. One includes drivers for certain HP printers to let users print out color photos that come in as email attachments. And in an attempt to attract households that already have at least one PC... .Cidco will let subscribers access existing email accounts with the device...

"This now opens up the market to us for people who have PCs but want additional devices in their home or when they're traveling to get their email."

The question is... will the effort be enough to help Cidco turn a profit? Company officials are forecasting that will happen in 2002. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.