Email Only Device

from the too-simple? dept

MailStation is releasing a device who’s only purpose is to check email. My first reaction is that it’s just a bit too simplistic. I guess, however, there may be a market for some people who just want to do email. I could definitely see this becoming more popular in the older generation who just want to stay in touch with their grandkids. Might turn out to be a competitor for WebTV in that space. Picture’s here.

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Comments on “Email Only Device”

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Vincent Yin says:

Bad form factor

The problem with a device like this is that it just isn’t versatile enough. Why not get an older PDA or handheld computer that is the same size but does much more (admitedly at a higher price point). The device only allows five e-mail accounts and no attachments.

If it is meant as a simple device for seniors etc., then shouldn’t they provide a better, larger screen? I can’t see who this is targetted to.

Mike (profile) says:

Excellent Point

I agree. When you think about it, the screen is way too small. My grandfather complains about the size of a 19″ monitor saying it’s way too small compared to the big TV he uses with WebTV. To be honest, when I was first about to post the story about the device I thought it was a portable, which led to a whole different set of thoughts. It was only after I looked it up and saw the picture that I realized it’s not a portable. There are reasons why a portable email checking device would be cool, but soon enough that’ll just be bundled in with all the PDA’s. The PalmVII is close, and I’m sure it’ll get there soon enough.

bob says:

e mail only device

i was asked to see if any such device existed. from your post, i see that there are. he is of the ‘older generation’, and hates (actually fears) computer technologies. he does know many people whom he likes to keep in touch, and they use e mail. so he said to me that he ‘saw a device that was e mail only’. could you find out for me?’

brands and where i could find them would be helpful. thanks.

Mary Ballantyne says:

Re: e mail only device

I am also VERY anxious to get an email only device
Can you send me brand names and where I can buy one? My friend got a V-tech one at Radio Shack a couple years ago, but V-tech no longere makes the product and Radio Shack doesn’t have anything like it. Any info you can send me would be VERY helpful Thanks. Mary

Pat Brien says:

Re: Re: e mail only device

Hello Mary,

I got your name from a web site with comments about an e-mail only machine and you had inquired about where to get one. Did you ever get one??? I am also looking for one simple to use and with a large screen for my sister-in-law who can’t talk and doesn’t see well and can’t get the hang of her computer. Any advice for me?? A friend has a Mailbug by Landel and I am in touch with them, but wonder if anything else is available. I also wonder if their monthly service is satisfactory.

Thanks for any help,

William Camp says:

email only device

I NEED an email device only. NEED it for my wife. In the past 15 years have gotten a desktop for her and about 4 years ago got her a laptop. She never learned to use either. All she wants to do is email. THAT MAKES ME HER EMAIL SECRETARY.
Therefore she needs a emiail only device and I NEED ONE FOR HER !!! Where can I get one ???

Mark Zieg (user link) says:

VTech / MailStation

A friend linked me to this thread…actually, I used to work on the VTech PostBox product line.

As to the earlier posters who felt such appliances lack flexibility or power or screensize…well, duh! Those people weren’t in our target market. That’s like asking a network admin for their opinion of AOL accounts.

In contrast, there ARE a lot of people for whom such idiot-proof and low-cost devices make a lot of sense. I gave a VTech PostBox to my grandmother (age 80+), and when the company finally went out of business 5 years later (hardware still working fine, probably on the original AA batteries), she asked me to buy her a competing look-a-like MailStation as a replacement. She’s still happily using it with an ancient compatible inkjet we found on eBay.

This was, and is, a valid and underrepresented niche. It’s too bad the new AppleTV doesn’t do email (does it?), else I’d probably buy her one of those 🙂

BTW, in related “web appliance” functionality, check out the Philips digital picture frames. They’re a great way to “send” a colorful (and updatable, via SD) website to a techno-challenged relative!

Tracer says:

email internet acess for grandmother

I know i saw (awhile back) a small “laptop” like device that could get u on the internet and send receive email easily. Now I cant find anything like that My “older” mother is a very non-tech type but i would like her to be able to have email access and get on the web. Can anyone help me find the right device

TommyTime says:

Email Only Devices

I have recently been doing some research for an older gentlemen I work with. He wants a PORTABLE or SEMI-PORTABLE device that… 1-does email only, no internet for fear of viruses and his addictive personality to surf the web/gambling sites; 2-has a full size keyboard; 3-has spell check; 4-has a decent sized display for ease of viewiing/reading emails; 5-is reasonably priced under $300 (plus $10 a month for service is OK); and 6-has a word processor with spell check to keep a daily journal or possibly start writing a book. He does not want a laptop or desktop and a PDA’s keyboard is too small. Anyone know of such a device that meets ALL 6 requirements?

Here is a list of products I have found that will do most, but not ALL of the requirements. Some of these might help for some of you that had posted earlier asking about which devices would be good for certain applications. I am not sure which, if any, of these are still in business, but you can try to research each.

6-V-Tech PostBox

These are all I have found so that will do email only. But none of these fit ALL of the requirements listed above.

The Alphasmart Dana Wireless will do emails and has a word processor with spell checker along with some alot of other features – it is basically a lower quality PDA. It also has a full sized keyboard and wi-fi capabilities. At $420, the price is a little high and a person would either have to go to a wi-fi hotspot to check emails (may not be convenient for an elderly person) or hookup a wireless router at home which may not even be possible if the person does not have a computer to hook a router to. I am really leaning towards getting him a really cheap laptop and deleting (or hiding) all internet access, games, and any other applications he would not need and just leaving email and a cheap word processor program (with spell check) capabilites.

I am still researching but I hope this info helps some other people out there.

Al Mccray (user link) says:

email only devices

Whew, this is one issue that I have done extensive research on topic. The only device so far that maybe worth some salt is made by peek, I have not tried it, but have read hundreds of reviews. About 35 % are negative.

I used to have a data/internet plan on my palm centro, via Verizon, it worked great.

The other day a collections rep from the company called and and wolfed at me, she was going to disconnect my total services of voice/email and data because I was still owing $27.01 on my account. I thought about what coverages I had, but mainly the tone and lack of respect in that reps voice.

I came to the conclusion that I was paying $99 for unlimited voice, $5 for texting, $45 for data/internet/ $15 for tethering to laptop, $4.99 for loss / damage insurance.
That comes to $168.99 plus 18% taxes = $199.41 per month.

I had been paying this for many several years, and for being late on $27.01, Verizon was going to cut off all my services.

Well the first thing I did was made arrangements to pay the $27.01. Then I call Verizon, had my data/internet services removed. My current bill is minus $45+15.

When I took time to think about this whole incident, all I really used mostly was instant email. and maybe some time my laptop was tethered to cell phone.

I immediately started this quest for mobile email devices for less. Peek email only is $20 per month, the device cost $79. But with 35% of their reviews negative, I am still undecided.

I found a program where I could tether my lap top for free and get unlimited use monthly, after buying software, $34. its call PDAnet. Its at

It works like a charm. I can’t tell the difference between it, PDAnet, and when I was using verizon with my laptop. The draw back is, to check email I have to power up my 17″ screen HP laptop. My next plan is to buy one of those mini laptops with “7in” screen by Acer for about $399. leave it always on in my car, take it for when I will be on line for less than an hour. I was shocked at what comes on these devices, wow, they even have on them XP and Office 2007. I will download the PDAnet software and I will be set. Savings after 4 months will be around $60 per month with free email and internet on the go.

After paying Verizon $200 per month and have a collections rep wolf at me over a past due $27.01 was totally unacceptable, out of line, bad PR and very stupid.

My new concept may prove a great way to live in this high world.

Al Mccray

First Southern Bankers

813 244 0664
Tampa, Florida

The master says:

Re: email only devices

Wow, you are very nice! if that was me I would of yelled back and told her to take their shitty service and shove it up her you know what. (No, I am not talking about her butt!) The only company I have encountered which makes verizon look like the best tech support on the country is Rogers Canada. With them, if even once, you pay somebody’s account, you will be charged if that account ever becomes pass due again. I did that for my wife once, then when she went overdue again, I received a bill from rogers telling me I had 30 days to pay them their money, or they were going to take me to court. It was for $8.00! I laughed at them, and told them to go ahead and hung up the phone. Well good luck to you!

teresa (profile) says:

Digital Photo Frame

It works like a charm. I can’t tell the difference between it, PDAnet, and when I was using verizon with my laptop. The draw back is, to check email I have to power up my 17″ screen HP laptop. My next plan is 12.1″ Digital Photo Frame to buy one of those mini laptops with “7in” screen by Acer for about $399. leave it always on in my car, take it for when I will be on line for less than an hour. I was shocked at what comes on these devices, wow, they even have on them XP and Office 2007. I will download the PDAnet software and I will be set. Savings after 4 months will be around $60 per month with free email and internet on the go.

Anonymous Coward says:

Somebody could make a fortune if they would bring out an email machine that would allow us old folks to simply write our friends and relatives an occasional note!(any number of emails, not just some number you come up with!!) Does no one out there understand that? I want a computer without email!because it seems obvious that all the viruses and other junk comes through your email connections!?

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