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PC World

3Com modems target games, shopping

October 28, 1999
Web posted at: 9:16 a.m. EDT (1316 GMT)

by Nancy Weil

(IDG) -- Broadband may be the future of Internet connectivity, but analog modems still abound. For those still using dial-up, 3Com is releasing three modems designed specifically for Internet shopping and games.

The 3Com Internet Gaming modem and two 3Com E-commerce modems will be available next week. All are 3Com U.S. Robotics V.90 56-kilobits-per-second modems optimized with firmware or software for the uses after which they're named. At $119.95, the Internet Gaming modem offers faster data transmission for better gaming performance. The E-commerce modem is available as an internal card modem ($99) or external modem ($129.95) and comes bundled with EntryPoint's eWallet software.

The Game Connection
An internal, controller-based modem, the Internet Gaming modem is tuned for Internet games with connection stability and reliability, says Jim Thomson, product manager for internal analog desktop products.

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"It minimizes ping time, the time it takes data to get from the modem to the server and back," Thomson says.

Standard V.90 modems focus on throughput. The Internet Gaming modem limits throughput in favor of ping time. Still, you can turn off its gaming mode and get standard V.90 performance when you're not playing.

"There is diversity in the gaming community as to what they like," says Mark Bisaillon, product line manager for North American branded modem business.

Catering to this range of taste, the Internet Gaming modem is bundled with full versions of HeavyGear 2 and Civilization: Call to Power as well as a choice of Asteroids, Heretic 2, Jack Nicholas Golf, or Soldier of Fortune: Special Edition. You can also get Quake 3 for $24.95, roughly half its retail price.

One-Click Shopping
3Com's E-commerce modem essentially offers enhanced features beyond current 3Com models, says Bisaillon. Existing 56-kbps internal or external modems are bundled with EntryPoint's eWallet software and an online shopping tutorial. Also included is $150 in digital coupons redeemable at specific sites.

"EWallet is comparable to the way you buy stuff in the real world," Bisaillon says. A wallet icon contains your credit cards and an ID card with your profile information. When you're ready to buy something from a site, you just drop your ID and credit card on the purchase page.

For people less familiar with online shopping, the package includes a multimedia tutorial from U.S. Robotics with information on how to buy online and on various security issues.

3Com acknowledges that broadband connections such as Digital Subscriber Line are coming down the Internet pipeline. For now, most consumers still use modem connections, Bisaillon says.

"If we get them an [analog] product from 3Com, as they move forward into broadband, they might look at what 3Com has to offer in the DSL arena," he says.

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