E-mailer

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Simplified representation of the Amstrad e-mailer.

The Amstrad E-mailer (often stylized as E-m@iler or written as Emailer or Em@iler) is a landline phone device, launched in 2000. It is essentially a desktop telephone with an LCD screen and limited Internet dialup and email messaging capabilities. Later models (the E-m@iler Plus, released 2002, and E3 Superphone with videophone capabilities, released 2004) were notable for including the ability to play ZX Spectrum videogames, leveraging Amstrad's previous experience manufacturing Spectrum models.The keyboard or Mailboard that slid out from under the handset was similar to the original ZX Spectrum keyboard, so it was similar to playing them on the Spectrum when using the E3 Superphone with its colour screen.

The 'pay as you use' business model that the Amstrad E-mailer was based on, was controversial, and favoured Amstrad heavily. Internet and email access were made via a premium-line phone number, so frequent automatic checking of email was expensive at first. However, by 2004/2005 it cost 20p a day as the Amstrad E-Mailer would dial once a day. If it couldn't dial in, it would deactivate the phone and answering machine until you let it dial for email again.

Sending SMS texts and downloading ringtones or games were also charged for, similar to cellphone operator schemes. This received criticism, and was unpopular. The phone also included advertising on its screen.but when it downloaded the adverts it was on a free number so the customer was not charged[1] The unpopularity of the phone led to losses at Amstrad's Amserve company.[2][3]

But Amstrad did break even on the device, Lord Sugar said in a interview in 2011:

"I think the mistake was that it was slightly too late – we’re going back maybe ten years or more. The explosion of the broadband market meant the demise of that product. We sold 450,000 but we subsidised them because I wanted to get into a business where I was no longer on the treadmill of expecting to make a profit on hardware. There was a cost each time a person sent an email and that was where our revenues were coming from. But they are still out there – I think there are 150,000 people still using them and I think someone told me Amstrad now has broken even and we have actually recovered all the costs." [4]

This is the Amstrad E-M@iler Plus, E3 Superphone and a Pocket Dock-It.
This is the Amstrad E-M@iler Plus, E3 Superphone and a Pocket Dock-It.

All Amstrad e-m@iler models have now been discontinued. On 30 April 2010 the Amserve E-mailer service was transferred to BSkyB, who announced that the Amserve e-mail service would close from 30 June 2011. From this date all support for the E-mailer services ended, although FAQs are available on Amstrad's website. The E-mailer phone will only function as a conventional phone with no online and e-mail after receiving a configuration change.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ AOL to become the latest big name to advertise on the Amstrad em@iler superphone, press release, 10 September 2003.
  2. ^ Amstrad CEO resigns over Sir Sugar's emailer obsession, Kieren McCarthy, The Register, 2 October 2001.
  3. ^ Amstrad still losing money on the e-m@iler, Graeme Wearden, ZDnet, 25 September 2003.
  4. ^ "Interview: Alan Sugar - "I've made loads of mistakes, trust me"". Radio Times. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  5. ^ Amstrad E-m@iler Support and FAQs - E3 e-m@iler (EM3002-UK)

External links[edit]