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Bits & Bytes
AND NOW, A PHONE THAT DOES WINDOWS
IT'S A PC. IT'S A PHONE. IT'S the latest example of combine-and-shrink technology. Next month, Telechips Corp. will begin shipping ThinPhone II, a hybrid personal computer-telephone aimed at business users. It's more than a screen phone: ThinPhone uses a touch screen, an Intel 386 chip, and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, which is stored in the computer's read-only memory chips. That means you can run Windows programs on it, including a calling directory and a calendar that come bundled with the device. You can also link it with a computer network. Another advantage over most screen phones: ThinPhone has two lines, so you can answer calls while calling up a customer's file, for example.
Telechips, based in Reno, Nev., has been building prototypes of ThinPhone, which will be priced under $1,000, for a year with partners including Ameritech Corp. and GTE Corp. Ameritech will begin testing ThinPhone later this year in public areas such as airport and hotel lounges. Special icons will allow travelers to send and receive faxes, access news services, or even send flowers while away from the office. Try that with any old phone.EDITED BY AMY CORTESE