Modems for the masses is the KDS battle cry for its line of entry-level modems and an upcoming plan to offer free ISP service for those purchasing the products.
KDS, which is known for its CRT and LCD monitors, is in the process of finalizing deals with several mass merchants for its six-model modem line, which will sell under the Amquest By KDS brand name, said Tony Ferraro, sales director for the line. KDS is also pursuing computer and consumer electronics retailers for the modems, but everything from the packaging to price is geared to help the modems sell on a non-supported sales floor.
KDS has taken the unusual step of using clear blister packs to prominently display the modems, Ferraro said. Along with installation instructions, each package contains a simple two-question test to ensure the customer purchases the correct modem.
"We had been selling through OEM deals and catalogs, but now we are starting a full push into retail with our clear blister pack," he said, adding no deals have been finalized.
The product line includes a new 56K V.90 USB model, suggested retail price $79, along with internal PCI, ISA, PCMCIA, serial port and a second PCI card containing two modems capable of boosting the connect rate to 112 Kbps.
KDS executives are also holding talks with an as-yet-unnamed Internet Service Provider (ISP) that KDS will partner with to offer its customers free Internet connectivity with each modem purchase, Ferraro said.
Free ISP deals are gaining acceptance, and he expects all ISP service to be free within two years as ISPs become able to support themselves through advertising.
In other news, KDS will enter the home-networking category with the shipment of its HomeShare kit. This phone-line-based system has not been priced.