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If all you want to do is send/receive email, you can use any of the setups listed under "Products" above, but the cheapest way to go is the Pocket Mailer.

There are several types of these, all about the size of a checkbook with a small keyboard to type in messages and an acoustic coupler on the back to provide the telephone connection. Units sold by JVC and Sharp are shown below. They cost around $100, require a monthly service that costs about $10 per month, and they only work for email. The monthly service gives you a toll-free number to call to upload outgoing email from your unit and download incoming email from the mail server. The unit will work with almost any phone, including payphones and most cellphones.

If you have an existing ISP email account (like MindSpring, EarthLink, AOL, etc.) or one of the free email accounts (e.g., Yahoo), you can forward email from that account to your Pocket Mailer. It doesn't work for some free emails, like Juno and HotMail, but I haven't yet been able to find out what characteristics determine whether or not it works.

Click one of the pictures below for further information.
JVC HC-E100 Portable E-Mail Device
Sharp TelMail E-Mail Organizer
Pocket Mailer
Feb 28, 2001 -- this link quit working -- am in the process of trying to discover if there still is a JVC HC-E100
June 14, 2002 -- this link quit working -- are E-Mailers no longer available? Am checking.
Click to Check it Out
Feb 5, 2003 -- looks like the only thing still available.
May 15, 2003 -- I just heard they can be purchased at Camping World!
Internet-On-The-Road (IOTR)