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An e-mail without a computer!

July 5, 2001 

An innovative India-patented cost-effective gadget called iStation, which enables a person to send e-mails without the aid of computer or an Internet Service Provider, is the latest offering of a Bangalore-based Technology Company.

iStation, is light weight, simple to use gadget, developed by iNablers Technologies Limited, which allows a user to send or receive upto 100 e-mails. The messages can also be sent in local languages.

It can revolutionize rural communications in a big way and the Company was already implementing a pilot project for the Karnataka Government by linking 60 Gram Panchayat Offices with iStations. Necessary training had already been provided to government officials.

Connected through the telephone line the e-mail messages are transmitted to their intended destination through a server with internet connection operating round the clock. It would cost the subscriber only a local telephone call charge to transmit the messages.

Positioned between a laptop and a palm top computer, the box weighs just 770 grams and five members of a family can share the iStation with individual personal e-mail ids. It can store upto 250 e-mail addresses.

Company Vice Chairman B P Kumar and Chief Operating Officer John Aravamuthan told UNI that iStation was a India patented product offered to the Information Technology sector world wide.

Mr. Kumar said ''Our aim is to break the barrier that IT is only for the elite and urbanites and empower people in rural areas.''

The company aimed to cover the entire Country with a network of 65 servers by March next year. It would need just 15 servers to link entire South India and the entire system would be in place by September end. Services commenced in Karnataka last week with three servers located in Bangalore, Hubli and Mangalore, covering the entire state, barring pockets of Bidar and Gulbarga.

Mr. Arvamuthan said even before the entire country was covered, the company had planned to take up networking in other countries. Following the launch, the company had received enquiries from United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada and Latin America. In three years the company wanted to cover 30 countries, he added.

Mr. Kumar said the company would try to come up with upgraded versions once in every six months so that more features could be added. The intention was to bring down the cost of the IStation upto 70 per cent of the existing cost.

Angel funded by India's leading High tech entrepreneur in the United States, B V Jagadeesh, the company had also received investment from Infinity Ventures and ICICI Ventures.

Already with a base of 900 subscribers, the company has come out with two models. The sleek portable with a lap top look, had a memory of 256 KB and an embedded modem with a speed of 2.4 Kbps. It also had a 240 x128 PXL LCD screen of post card size. Its cost worked out to one fifth the cost of a computer.

The host computer which was linked to the IStations are also tailored to meet the needs of the clients and its cost was also less compared to an investment of upto Rs one crore required by an Internet Service Provider, Mr. Kumar said.

He said the Company also proposed to set up iStations in Public Telephone Offices. Nearly 80 per cent of the internet browsers use the Web only for sending e-mails, he added.


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