Along with a briefcase and a suit bag, many business travelers often find themselves saddled with yet another carry-on item: a laptop computer. The trouble is, many of them don't use their laptop for anything beyond merely sending and receiving electronic mail. But now, WordPerfect Corp. has devised a new way to gain access to corporate e-mail networks that could eliminate this extra piece of baggage.
The new system, called TeleMail, is an extension to the Orem (Utah) company's WordPerfect Office e-mail software. Instead of hooking a laptop to a phone line, mobile customers just dial into their office mailboxes with an ordinary touch-tone phone. The TeleMail software "reads" them their text-based messages in a synthesized voice. It also lets them forward their mail, send faxes, respond to e-mail requests for meetings, and update their calendars. They even can send a voice-mail message that can be heard through a recipient's PC speaker. The $9,995 software, due out midyear, operates on an IBM-type "server" computer, which also must be equipped with a special circuit board.