Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 25/09/2003Ah, good old Amstrad. It's making money -- mostly from set-top boxes -- but the good old e-m@iler is still losing the stuff.

Thursday 25/09/2003
Ah, good old Amstrad. It's making money -- mostly from set-top boxes -- but the good old e-m@iler is still losing the stuff. This year, says the financial report, it should start showing a profit, especially with the third generation product with "additional revenue-earning functionality".

I shudder to think. I've had the first- and second-generation phones, and it's gone from something that sits quietly flashing the odd advert to a raucous billboard advertising all manner of nastiness -- Psychic Readings, gambling, loan consolidations and so on. At least it's still monochrome, but doubtless the Mark III will have a full-colour screen, stereophonic sound and some sort of neon billboard you have to strap over your bed.

But there is one area where nobody's made much progress, a friend suggests. How about a mobile e-m@iler? After all, Amstrad is out of the mobile phone business but is a good fit for low-end cellular stuff -- and nobody does a poor man's Blackberry in the UK. Whether people would be interested in having their pockets aglow with adverts for Mystic Al's Crystal Balls I cannot say, but you can see there being a certain attraction.

One of the major pro-mobile forces at Amstrad always used to be 'Uncle' Bob Watkins, who fled the company after falling out with Sugar over the latter's addiction to the e-m@iler idea. Now with the product within sniffing distance of breaking even and a couple of years' cooling off period passed, it could be time for Watkins, once again, to kiss and make up and take his seat in the Brentwood boardroom.