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AT&T Wireless Resurrects `2-Way Pager’ For Consumers

Redmond, Wash. — Cellular carrier AT&T Wireless resurrected the two-way pager for consumer use.

The company unveiled a dedicated two-way clamshell-style messaging device with QWERTY keyboard but no wireless-voice capability. The device, called Ogo, is available at $99 after $30 rebate, and features access to the instant messaging and email services of Yahoo!, AOL and MSN. The device also accesses email through other Internet Service Providers’ POP3 email accounts.

AT&T, which directed Ogo’s design, developed the device to provide the youth market with a low-cost product that “does one thing — mobile messaging — extraordinarily well,” said AT&T Mobile Multimedia Services’ president Andre Dahan. Unlike other cellular devices that do voice, messaging, games and picture-taking, Ogo isn’t burdened by those devices’ high price tag or difficulty of use, he said.

Price plans start at $17.99/month for unlimited messaging through Yahoo!, AOL or MSN. Additional email/IM accounts cost $3 each. Unlimited SMS text messaging is included.

Existing users of AT&T GSM phones get a $3/month discount when they add Ogo to their existing voice plan. No annual contract is required. Charges are automatically posted to the user’s credit card. Users self-activate the device.

The 4.8-ounce Ogo delivers a “desktop-like” experience, AT&T contends. Users can access IM contact lists, insert emoticons, view all active messages and chats at a glance, direct “hot key” access to all major messaging functions, and have a consolidated inbox.

Other features include 4K color display; eight-way joystick; and ability to assign different sounds and visual animations to individuals on a buddy list, so the device emits a different sound or plays a different animation when a particular friend goes online or sends a message.