Motorola, Inc., today introduced the new Motorola IMfree™ – a revolutionary product designed to provide freedom and convenience to instant messaging (IM) users almost anywhere throughout the house. About the size of a CD case, the IMfree handheld device is equipped with a large display and full QWERTY keyboard for IM addicts, providing a private IM experience away from the restraints of a stationary computer. Currently compatible with AOL® Instant Messenger™ and AIM Buddy Lists®, the new, easy-to-use Motorola IMfree system has all that chatting lovers need to take their IM experience almost anywhere in the home.
The availability of the new Motorola IMfree marks what could be the end of family disputes over PC usage – which according to recent studies, effects more than half of single PC family homes. After simply attaching the IMfree base station to an Internet-connected computer and launching the software, users are ready to roam throughout the house with the Motorola IMfree handheld unit. The Motorola IMfree system offers families the ability to connect multiple units to one PC and IMfree base station, so now both sister “Jill” and brother “Jack” can chat away simultaneously with ease, while Mom or Dad are using the PC. Since the IMfree software runs virtually unnoticed in the background of the PC, family members have the ability to search the Web, write a report or finish a business presentation without constant interruptions from others vying to chat on the PC with friends via IM.
“Anyone who knows or has a tween or teen of their own has seen firsthand the passion this audience has with IMing,” said Larry O’Shaughnessy, director of marketing, Motorola Consumer Products Division. “This passion will only increase with the new Motorola IMfree – giving kids a more convenient and private way to IM with their friends away from the PC. Millions of kids can now ‘LOL’ with their ‘BFF’ in the bedroom, on the stairs or even the bathroom.”
Operating on 900MHz ISM band technology, the same technology as most cordless telephones, the IMfree system works within 150 feet of the IMfree base station which connects to the family Internet-connected PC. Combined with the hip and lightweight IMfree handset with rechargeable battery, family members can roam almost anywhere in the house for up to four hours, enjoying a truly wireless IM experience. Each IMfree base station can accommodate up to seven IMfree handheld units at one time, so even large families can join in on the fun.
Designed to leverage the AIM experience, the Motorola IMfree system supports AIM Buddy Lists, allowing users to hold IM conversations with up to six of their buddies at a
time. In addition, users can also add feelings to their IM chats with 12 of AIM’s most popular emoticons, so while users are on the go with IMfree they won’t miss any of the fun that they might find at the PC.
With the Motorola IMfree, unwelcome chats are easy to avoid as the software accommodates built-in parental controls. Parents have the authority to limit who can send messages to their children by blocking certain chat invitations. In addition, parents can set limits on usage from the family PC so that IM sessions do not occur before homework is finished or after bedtime.
Using and installing the IMfree system is simple – all users need is a Windows® based PC with an Intel® Pentium® II Processor or faster, an available USB port, an Internet connection and a membership in the AOL community or a free AOL AIM account (www.aim.com). The auto install wizard provides consumers with step-by-step instructions through the PC software installation process. Complicated equipment is unnecessary, the Motorola IMfree device works with broadband, DSL, cable modem or dial up and the system itself accrues no additional monthly fees.
The easy-to-use Motorola IMfree system consists of an IMfree handheld unit, an IMfree base station with attached USB cable, rechargeable NiMH Battery Pack, an AC power adapter and the Installation CD-ROM. Expected to be available in the second half of 2003, the initial IMfree system includes one handset and has an estimated price of $99.