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AOL sheds light on new broadband, dial-up software

Wed, 06/25/2003 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

America Online Inc. (http://www.aol.com) partly pulled back the veil on the latest version of its Internet service Thursday, touting new built-in security features, anti-spam filters and 3D instant messaging.

AOL will preview the new version, dubbed AOL 9.0 Optimized, to its dial-up and broadband subscribers sometime this summer. It marks the company's third upgrade in the last 10 months.

AOL will also offer, for no additional charge, some accelerator technology designed to speed up Web surfing, but the company did not indicate how much faster subs will be able to load Web content.

AOL 9.0 Optimized will also improve to its mail management, allowing users to store up to 20 megabytes of mail on AOL's servers.

The new version will add animated 3D "SuperBuddy" icons to its instant messaging platform. The new avatars will contain "expression" features and allow users to communicate via voice and video clips. AOL's SuperBuddy cast will offer more than 50 icons, from animals to "funny objects." Adding some celebrity kitsch, Ben Stiller ("Meet The Parents") and Star Jones (ABC's "The View") will be the first to lend their likenesses to the SuperBuddy icon gallery.

AOL said 76 percent of its online population uses IM applications. Citing a new survey, AOL said New York is the top IM market, followed by Philadelphia, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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