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Browser debuts for Web kiosks

Touchscreen market leader MicroTouch Systems today unveiled a simple browser designed to work with Web kiosks in public spaces like corporate lobbies, government offices, and airports.

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Touchscreen market leader MicroTouch Systems today unveiled a simple browser designed to work with Web kiosks in public spaces like corporate lobbies, government offices, and airports.

Called Prospector, the browser is based on the Spyglass Mosaic Web technology, but has been modified to work with touchscreens in place of mice or keyboards. Due in April, Prospector will also feature a simplified interface with only five navigation keys, a help button, and a print button, in contrast to Netscape Navigator's 31 buttons and icons and 54 menu choices, MicroTouch officials said.

The company is aiming Prospector at businesses that want to set up promotional kiosks with touchscreens for office lobbies or demo rooms. MicroTouch is also encouraging the creation of kiosks for public spaces, such as airports, hotels, and restaurants.

Because the kiosks may be designed to focus on specific Web sites or content, the browser will let kiosk creators cut links to other Web pages, and it provides a URL-restriction feature called SurfControl to confine users' access to a specific list of sites. The browser can also be used to limit access to Web pages that are downloaded periodically to local storage instead of providing live Internet access.

Prospector will run on Windows 95 systems and will cost $595.

MicroTouch entered the kiosk market last year when it acquired Factura Kiosks, the largest U.S. kiosk manufacturer. Factura's customer list includes IBM, Kraft, General Foods, JC Penney, and PepsiCo.

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