Just when you thought you had run out of technology to stay connected when you're off the network, Global Datalink has released Liquid Mail, a service that uses text-to-speech software to let subscribers access email and listen to messages over the phone.
Clients of the Florida ISP will be receiving free trials of the service this week as it is being released nationwide. In the next few weeks, GDI also will be rolling out fax forwarding and pager notification services linked to users' email accounts, according to Bob Curry, director of marketing operations.
Curry noted that the software read email accurately but still has "small glitches to be worked out." These "glitches" occur when the text-to-speech computer reads domain names and email addresses in the header phonetically as complete words.
Users of Liquid Mail have two options for accessing their email: have it read to them over the phone by the not-quite-human voice of the computer or by using a handheld device that allows the user to download the email as text.
Pricing for the service ranges from $4.95 to $9.95 per month. The optional handheld unit is priced at about $80.