January 1992

Hayes unveils low-cost ISDN

by Dan Lavin

San Francisco: Hayes Microcomputer Products will finally lift its shroud of secrecy today when it announces a low-cost ISDN adapter that connects to the NeXT computer. According to sources, the device is a basic-rate ISDN interface. It supports two 64kbps "b" channels and a "d," or control, channel, as well as regular analog phone service for the U.S. market.

The product was developed to work with the Phone Kit to be released in NeXTstep 3.0. By using the Phone Kit's objects, developers can build applications that make the NeXT an ISDN modem, dial the phone, or act as an answering machine, among other applications. However, the new device lacks the capability to act as a standard analog modem.

Hayes currently ships an ISDN product priced at about $1200, but because the new adapter uses the power of the NeXT Digital Signal Processor, it will cost less than $400. Atlanta-based Hayes is the standard-bearer and market leader in the personal-communications market, and company founder Dennis Hayes has recently been moving the firm toward digital technologies like ISDN.

For NeXT, Hayes's close association will help quiet criticism that NeXT lacks enough name-brand third-party vendors. Easy telecommunications connectivity has long been a weak link in NeXT's product line. The Hayes product, coupled with the long-awaited MicroPhone II communications software from Software Ventures, will help address this concern.

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