Walter Mossberg writes about the MailStation in the WSJ: “The MailStation works on a simple principle. It uses its own built-in Internet service to send and fetch e-mail automatically twice a day, at times the user selects. It will also send and receive e-mail whenever you command it to do so. It is purely an e-mail device — it can’t surf the Web, or hook up to AOL, or to any Internet service other than its own. And, except for the high-end model, it is limited to text e-mail. It cannot deliver or display attachments. However, attachments sent to you can be fetched from a special Web site available from any PC.”
The device, from Earthlink in the US, comes in two models, with the cheaper one at USD 100 + USD 10/month for service.
This got me thinking: what will it take for the Thin Client to become a MailStation and more? The TC by itself is useless — it needs a Thick Server. But suppose we could put a basicversion of Linux on the device (like in an embedded device) such that it could connect to the Internet, then it could talk to the TS and get other apps. Would be slow over the phone line, though. But if we focus on just a few apps (eg. Mail and Browser), it may be possible to build in enough of the stuff on the TC itself. The question is: which markets would thisbe of interest in? Perhaps, for the home segment (first-time users).