WITH THE NET, WHO NEEDS A PHONE MACHINE?
NEW SCHEMES ARE BECOMING available for sending and receiving voice messages across the Internet--at considerable savings over long-distance telephone services.
Norris Communications Corp. in San Diego has come out with a version of its handheld Flashback digital voice recorder that works with Internet E-mail (photo). First, you record speech on a removable, chip-based memory cartridge. Then, you plug that cartridge into a separate gizmo, which itself plugs into the PCMCIA slot on your laptop computer. A program in the PC attaches voice messages to outgoing E-mail. By using two popular file formats, .WAV and .NFS, the messages can be listened to on any PC with the appropriate software. The full setup is scheduled to ship in mid-September, listing at $549 for 18 minutes of recording time and $599 for 36 minutes.
JFAX Personal Telecom, meanwhile, is rolling out a service that delivers voice mail and faxes via E-mail. For $12.50 a month, customers are assigned a phone number and a virtual mailbox on the World Wide Web that accepts standard phone calls and faxes. Using JFAX's viewer software on their IBM-compatible PC or Apple Macintosh (available at no charge at www.jfax.net), customers located anywhere on the Internet can reach out and listen to or view messages retrieved from their mailbox.
EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITY
Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.