Infogear iPhone brings Web to your desktop and makes calls, too

WHAT'S HOT

June 14, 1999

The first version of InfoGear's iPhone offered a glimpse of the future in which ubiquitous Internet appliances fight for dominance over the desktop PC. The latest version of the iPhone ($299-$399) brings this future even closer.

The analog telephone/Net appliance combo can fit seamlessly into the fabric of your life. Set up in a kitchen, family room or other central location, the iPhone allows access to e-mail accounts (up to four) and Web browsing. Specialized portals, tailored to your ZIP code, provide local weather, sports, movie listings, news, food delivery and more.

The first version of the iPhone, while very usable, had significant hardware and software problems. The new phone solves many of these, with a larger laptop-sized keyboard, a tilt screen, a full-duplex speaker phone, a 56K modem, and minor software improvements.

The product still has growing up to do. There's no forward button on the browser, no "find" function, no means of e-mailing Web pages, no cut and paste.

The good news is, these changes, as they are addressed by InfoGear, can be downloaded into your machine. For instance, the new iPhone has digital answering machine capabilities. As soon as the bugs are worked out, the software to enable this will be automatically downloaded into your machine.

A serial port on the back of the device is standing by, waiting to receive such future peripherals as a credit card reader.

Information: 650-568-2900 or www.infogear.com

Epson 440 printer provides great color, reasonable cost

Has this happened to you? You see an ad for a printer that depicts hard-to-believe print quality. You can't resist the affordable price and the promise of making your own photo prints, T-shirts or greeting cards. After you get the thing home, struggle through a painful setup process, install the fragile ink cartridges and fire up the machine, you discover that it does not perform as advertised. And it's so loud that you need runway ear protectors just to stay in the room with it.

No, I'm not bitter.

Epson's new Stylus Color 440 ($129) is the exact opposite. Setting it up is a joy.

The installation card is clear and well-designed. The manual is a model that all manufacturers should follow, with crystal-clear instructions, beautiful color illustrations and a trouble-shooting section with color images of what the problems look like and how to fix them.

Once the printer is set up and you print your first page, get ready for a shock: The output looks like the samples in the advertising. The four-color 440 can handle everything from black-and-white business documents to photo prints that rival the quality of machines that cost two or three times as much.

Our only quibbles with the 440 is that it doesn't come with a printer cable and that it's a bit noisy.

If you're looking for a multipurpose printer for home or office that works like a champ and can be had for a song, check the Stylus Color 440.

Information: 800-463-7766 or www.epson.com/printer

-- Gareth Branwyn

For full reviews of these and other gadgets, visit www. streettech.com

Pub Date: 06/14/99

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