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SmarterChild, a once-popular but now extinct "buddy" on AOL's Instant Messenger is poised to make a comeback--but its instant fact-finding will come at a price.
SmarterChild, the automated answer service that predicts the weather, asks trivia questions, and plays blackjack, falls victim to its own success.
Roamable, a privately held wireless start-up backed by some former Microsoft executives, announced the launch of its e-mail-based wireless information service. The company offers a database of information-on-demand via e-mail queries. Roamable has signed pacts with MTVi and MSNBC.com to provide content. For example, by sending an e-mail message from a wireless phone or any device to email@example.com with the subject line "Madonna," a user can receive news and information about the pop star. Roamable believes its service is the answer to wireless Internet offerings that, so far, have failed to attract many users. These early mobile Net services are klugey and difficult to use. E-mail-based queries could provide one solution, and may be poised for growth. Already, online giant Yahoo is testing a query-based service, dubbed "SmarterChild," that is similar to Roamable's offering but operates over the portal company's IM (instant message) service.