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Internet Appliance Network Selects Espial Technology for Virgin Entertainment's Webplayer; Revolutionary Web Browser Enables New E-commerce Business Model for Virgin Entertainment Group.

Business Editors, High Tech Writers

OTTAWA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 10, 2000

Espial(TM), the leader in Internet appliance solutions, has joined forces with Internet Appliance Network (IAN), the first company to combine Internet marketing and e-commerce with web-enabled devices, to produce the WebPlayer(TM), an innovative Internet appliance for Virgin Entertainment Group.

Launched today, the WebPlayer from Virginconnect is a flat-screen Internet device that delivers a desktop-equivalent multimedia browsing experience without a PC. Virgin is distributing the WebPlayer to a select 10,000 customers who will be able to listen and securely purchase CDs over the Internet without a home PC. It is based on Espial Escape(TM) version 4.0 web browser and Espial Espresso(TM) GUI platform.

"As entertainment and the Internet converge with smart devices, a new paradigm emerges of customized information and application services delivered to connected and portable devices," says Jaison Dolvane, president and CEO of Espial. "IAN and Virgin are at the forefront of this convergence and have taken advantage of Espial's industry-leading Internet solutions to power the WebPlayer. The WebPlayer offers rich functionality and support for leading web standards, providing consumers access to the entire Internet and millions of online transaction-based services. Espial's alliance with IAN combines the industry's leading Internet appliance infrastructure solutions together with a revolutionary approach that converts hardware into powerful media and delivers it as one turn-key solution."

IAN's solution of a branded Internet appliance uses Linux, Java, and core technologies from Espial for a more compelling user experience. Consumers, however, only see a Virgin-branded browser interface for content, applications, e-commerce, online advertising, customer support, and so on. This gives Virgin continuous exposure while offering consumers a simple alternative to surfing the Internet.

Virgin Entertainment Group considers the Webplayer to be a comprehensive marketing and branding solution for customer acquisition, retention, and relationship management. It will enable the retailer giant to build a strong online presence quickly and cost-effectively while creating more meaningful and personalized customer relationships. In effect, it will allow Virgin to actively participate in their customer's online experience as both access provider and private portal. It is a new e-commerce model that acts as a direct bridge between retailers and their customers.

"Espial's software technology has proven to be a driving force behind the Internet appliance industry and the progression of pervasive computing," says Audrey Parma, President of IAN. "To deliver a compelling solution for Virgin Entertainment, we needed a multimedia solution equivalent to desktop browsers; Espial Escape is the most advanced browser for Internet appliances on the market today. Together with Espial and Virgin, we are well ahead of revolutionizing the way consumers identify with brands and how people shop on the web."

The WebPlayer boasts a fully integrated plug-and-play Internet access platform, 56k/v90 access, a branded custom interface, complete online shopping and Virgin-program benefits. Customers can buy Virgin online products and, for additional convenience, have their billing information stored for use at any web site.

Espial Group

The recognized industry leader in innovative Internet technology, Espial offers a comprehensive end-to-end service-delivery platform for Internet appliances. This platform includes client solutions for device manufacturers and infrastructure solutions for service providers. Espial's client solutions include Espial DeviceTop(TM), a patented device application environment, and Espial Escape, a standards-based desktop-caliber web browser in under 800K. Espial's infrastructure products include Espial DeviceServer(TM), a scalable, robust, and reliable server that allows service providers to deliver rich application and content services to a wide variety of devices, including set-top boxes, screenphones, gaming consoles, smart cars, and handheld devices. (www.espial.com)

Espial products are supported on leading device operating systems and Java Virtual Machines from companies such as Microsoft - WinCE, Linux - Redhat, Symbian - EPOC32, Wind River - VxWorks and pSOS, QNX - QNX 4 and Neutrino, Microware - OS9, Be - BEOS, Sun Microsystems - Java, Insignia - Jeode and Tao Group - intent JVM.

INTERNET APPLIANCE NETWORK

IAN (www.internetappliance.net) is a marketing and media services company, giving consumer brands an opportunity to actively participate in their customers' online experiences. IAN helps position brands as both access provider and private portal, through consumer branded hardware and marketing services. IAN has also incorporated loyalty program e-commerce, content links and secure e-wallet functionality's for end-users, serving as a means for consumers to access the web and -- within a persistent, active frame -- a continuous guide to wherever they surf. IAN is forming marketing partnerships with selected consumer brands searching for ways to offer consumers e-commerce media and marketing solutions.

Note to editors: Espial, Espial Escape, Espial Espresso, Espial DeviceTop, and Espial DeviceServer are trademarks of Espial Group. Java and all other Java-based trademarks are registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Note: For graphic, please contact David Murrow at Internet Appliance Network. Graphic will also be made available on photowire on Monday morning from Internet Appliance Network.
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Date:Apr 10, 2000
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