Send and receive e-mail using an ordinary telephone and the Sharp TM-20 mobile e-mail device with its built-in acoustic
modem. Just pull the TM-20 from your pocket, place it against a telephone handset, and press one button to get your
messages. No additional computer or Internet service is necessary.
The Sharp TM-20 is a stand-alone portable e-mail editor designed for travelers or anyone lacking a portable PC or
access to the Internet. Setup consists of inserting the batteries and setting the clock. You must also sign up for the
PocketMail e-mail service by calling a toll-free number or filling out a form on the Internet. The payment plan (either
monthly or annual) permits you to receive unlimited text-only messages that are each no more than 4,000 characters long.
The menu prompts are not entirely intuitive, but by following the Quick Start instruction sheet, we set up the unit and
the PocketMail account and sent our first e-mail message in about 30 minutes. The TM-20's complete alphanumeric keyboard
and buttons are small, making touch-typing impractical, but our short test messages were easy enough to compose.
To send and receive messages, you open the acoustic modem "earpiece" mounted on the bottom of the unit, dial
PocketMail's toll-free number, listen for a prompt, press the TM-20 against the telephone handset, and push one button.
Reassuring LEDs let you know that the sending and receiving processes are taking place. We successfully sent and
received several messages through different ISPs and desktop e-mail programs. We also sent an HTML e-mail message to the
TM-20; the PocketMail system stripped out the HTML code but preserved the message itself.
The organizer functions are primitive, useful mainly for tracking names, addresses, and appointments. You can make
backups of your TM-20's organizer and e-mail messages by connecting it via the included serial cable to a desktop PC. In
our test, the backup program took a surprisingly long 15 minutes.
If you need little more than an alarm clock with your e-mail on the go, then the inexpensive Sharp TM-20 may be just
* Works with almost any telephone
* No cables or connectors
* No computer or Internet access required
* Requires monthly or annual subscription fee
* Limited memory, not expandable