AOL tipped to release first PC-free 'Net devices

America Online declined to comment this weekon reports that it will release a line of consumer devices within the next few weeks that provide Internet connectivity without using a PC. A screen phone, which includes a small keyboard, will be included in the line of devices, according to the Journal.

America Online declined to comment this weekon reports that it will release a line of consumer devices within the next few weeks that provide Internet connectivity without using a PC.

An AOL spokeswoman tcited a policy that the company does not respond to "rumors or speculation" when she was asked about a report published in the Wall Street Journal, which said its information came from sources familiar with AOL's plans. A screen phone, which includes a small keyboard, will be included in the line of devices, according to the Journal.

The Dulles, Virginia-based Internet service provider (ISP) might possibly work with Alcatel Alsthom SA, the Paris-based telecommunications company, on the phone, the report said. Alcatel confirmed to the Journal that it intends to use partnerships with U.S. companies to market its WebTouch screen phone, but officials would not talk about specific businesses involved in the partnerships.

AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-448-8700 or at http://www.aol.com/. Alcatel, in Paris, can be reached at +33-1-40-76-10-10 or at http://www.alcatel.com/.

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