The CIDCo MailStation was a portable e-mail terminal first introduced by CIDCO Inc in 1999 at Amazon.com and was marketed as the Mivo 100 by EarthLink. The MailStation is no longer sold by either EarthLink or Amazon.
The MailStation was designed to send and receive e-mails via a standard POTS telephone line. It was intended as an alternative to a laptop computer in regards to its messaging capabilities and also as an alternative to a personal computer for those who for whatever reason do not have access to one but who wish to enjoy the benefits of e-mail.
The device could hold up to four hundred messages and up to one thousand contacts. Since it was not a personal/laptop computer, the MailStation could not be used to view attachments.
Since the introduction of Mailstation in 1999 it has been released in 5 different models:
- Mivo 100
- Mivo 150
- Mivo 200
- Mivo 250
- Mivo 350
All the models are portable and run on either 3 to 4 AA batteries or with an AC adapter. It has a parallel printer port for printer connection. Though the previous models (Mivo 100, Mivo 150, Mivo 200) didn't have the capability of receiving attachments, later that drawback was rectified with the Mivo 250 and Mivo 350. Mivo 250 and 350 had the capability of receiving attachments (i.e. gif and jpg images) but the size of the mail along with the attachment should be less than 100KB. In addition to receiving attachments, the Mivo 250 and Mivo 350 include a separate wireless modem allowing untethered mobility for short distances. All the models have a full size keyboard and extra features such as calendar and calculator.
The way it works
Mailstation is a e-mail device which can work both by using a power adapter or using batteries. In order to send an email, the email can be drafted while offline and when connected can be sent using a button on the device called get mail/mail. As on PCs, when the button is pressed, the device sends emails which are drafted and kept in the outbox and at the same time receives new emails from the server. All the users have a web based account (Similar to Yahoo) which can be accessed through any internet connected PC. When using the Mailstation the emails are downloaded from the website to the Mailstation for them to view offline. So for the user to check his/her emails the Mailstation connects to the internet for few seconds till it downloads/send the emails and instantly disconnects after that.
Mailstation not only has the capability of sending and receiving emails but also it used to receive contents related to weather, lottery, financial news, astrology and TV Listings. The updates are sent to the users as or when they are available from the service provider.
For a period of time after production of Mailstation hardware ceased and Earthlink discontinued the sale of the devices, the company still allowed new customers to sign up for the Mailstation service. At some point prior to early 2011, Earthlink stopped accepting new Mailstation accounts, and will not transfer an existing Mailstation account to a new device. This implies that while Earthlink continues to provide the service for existing Mailstation customers, the number of Mailstation accounts Earthlink services can only decrease as customers voluntarily cancel their accounts and/or the physical Mailstation devices still being serviced fail.
- "Mailstation FAQ". EarthLink, Inc. Retrieved 2011-04-18.