America Online has rolled out a standalone software application for AOL members that integrates communication tools such as e-mail, instant messaging and address book features with news and information.
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The AOL Communicator, allows users to access and manage e-mail from multiple inboxes, look up contacts in an address book and view personalised news, sports and stock information among other features.
Communicator is free for download for AOL members and geared especially toward broadband users who have an always-on connection and want to keep abreast of their online communications while working on other tasks.
AOL said that it is tailored for its more tech-savvy users, offering advanced e-mail features and functions.
The software allows users to send e-mail from multiple AOL screen names as well as from standards-based e-mail accounts such as POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) from a single application. Users can also sort and filter e-mail and access instant messaging "buddies".
Communicator is integrated with Radio@AOL for Broadband, allowing for access to more than 175 stations of music, news, sports and entertainment. A "My AOL Today" screen saver gives users access to headlines and images.
The introduction of AOL Communicator comes as part of AOL's broadband push and is aimed at users with the AOL 9.0 Optimised software, which was rolled out last week.
A version of the software for Mac OS X will be available later this quarter.
Scarlett Pruitt writes for IDG News Service