Internet has stopped being a nerd's plaything. We're seeing the arrival of software that doesn't need a Windows 3.1 or Unix skillset to drive it - and about time too. A mass consumer market seems to be starting up and there are serious products for retailers to make money from.
Internet access can be achieved in two ways; there are the traditional Unix-like character applications like newsreaders, email, gopher, etc, and there is the new generation stuff like web browsers and Internet phone products. The character stuff comes from dial-up access with slow modems and features offline mail and news readers to cut down the phone bill. Web browsers are online and require faster modems. You can use browsers like Netscape's Navigator to read newsgroups but the online bill can become huge. Products like Turnpike include all four strands of Internet access - character, graphical, online and offline working.
It is only since last Christmas that Internet access products have come into being as a retail category in their own right. Consumers are getting educated and are beginning to understand how to separate enthusiast propeller head products from
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