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Lycos, Landel deliver content via email device

The Internet portal and email appliance maker enter an alliance to offer users Net content that bypasses the personal computer.

Internet portal Lycos and email appliance maker Landel Telecom today announced they have entered an alliance to offer users Net content that bypasses the personal computer.

As previously reported, through San Jose, Calif.-based Landel's standalone email appliance, called MailBug, Lycos will distribute content including news, sports, stocks, weather and other information free of charge to non-PC users. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Landel's MailBug is a self-contained device that allows users to send and receive email without a personal computer. The unit plugs into a standard telephone line and doubles as a caller ID device.

"We expect that this agreement will enable consumers who do not have a PC to more fully partake in the information revolution by conveniently placing Lycos content on an appliance than can reside on their kitchen countertop," Jeff Bennett, senior vice president of corporate development at Lycos, said in a statement.

Today's move by Waltham, Mass.-based Lycos is the latest example of a major portal reaching out to customers through a non-traditional medium in the wake of reports of stagnating traffic numbers.

For example, America Online recently signed a deal with Wal-Mart, and Yahoo inked a similar pact with Kmart in an attempt to tap mainstream American consumers. In addition, many portal sites have partnerships with cellular and paging companies to deliver data to portable devices.

This is not Lycos' first wireless deal, either. Earlier this month the company struck a deal with Ericsson to deliver Internet content to mobile phones.

Similarly to Landel, West Coast telephone giant Pacific Bell offers eMessage, a phone-less email device. And InfoGear makes the iPhone, an all-in-one phone and Net access appliance.

Landel's MailBug device is available at Fry's Electronics retail stores and through certain catalog distributors and Web sites. The device sells for about $130, and monthly service costs $10.

News.com's Jennifer Balderama contributed to this report.