America Online Launches AOL 6.0
America Online (www.aol.com), announced the launch of its AOL 6.0 software. The new software contains several new features; including a new service for members to check their e-mail over the phone using voice commands called, "AOL by Phone". AOL also launched the AOL Anywhere Web site, which gives AOL members a way to keep their favorite features accessible from any computer, wireless phone or other mobile device, AOLTV, or by calling on their telephone.
The new software also comes with a built-in multimedia player, which supports all formats. If members choose to use this player, they will have access to music and video without having to download additional software. In all likelihood, they will also have the pleasure of watching advertisements on this player.
AOL also announced the rollout of AOL PLUS, powered by DirecPC, the satellite-based broadband service from Hughes Network Systems (www.hns.com). This is the first manifestation of a strategic marketing agreement the two parties set up in June of this year, when AOL invested $1.5 billion into Hughes. Hughes pledged to invest the majority of this money into the development of Spaceway, Hughes' next-generation satellite system for two-way, broadband connectivity, scheduled to launch in the year 2002. Hughes has invested $1.4 billion to design, manufacture and launch the North American system and accompanying ground infrastructure.
Currently, subscribers to AOL PLUS are only able to upload data over their standard telephone line. Hughes is also working to build a combination set-top receiver to make DIRECTV/AOL TV available to consumers next year.