America Online introduces AOL 9.0

On Friday, August 1st, AOL for Broadband members using the Microsoft(r) Windows(r) XP and Windows(r) 2000 operating systems will be the first to get an exclusive, preview copy of the new versionbefore the product is generally released in stores and marketing outlets this fall. All other AOL members will be notified online in the coming weeks as AOL 9.0 Optimized is available for them todownload. Members can also order a free AOL 9.0 Optimized CD in the online upgrade area.

The most compelling upgrade in AOL history, AOL 9.0 Optimized includes a number of valuable new and enhanced features designed to help members get the most from being online. During a special online promotional campaign, a record 2.8 million AOL members signed up to receive an automatic alert when AOL 9.0 Optimized is available to download. And pre-release usage of the product during beta testing surpassed expectations with active participation from more than 150,000 members.

Jon Miller, AOL’s Chairman and CEO, said: “Our members told us exactly what they want in their AOL service and AOL 9.0 Optimized was built in response. No matter how members and their families connect to the AOL service – whether by dial-up or by adding the AOL for Broadband service to a basic high-speed connection – this upgrade will allow each person to create the online world that they want. Once again, the Company that encouraged generations of people to experience the Internet, is delivering a consumer-focused online service that provides real value, enjoyment, and the most ease and convenience available.”

Throughout this fall, AOL will ramp up a multi-faceted marketing campaign to build momentum around the AOL 9.0 Optimized release. As part of this campaign, AOL will integrate online promotions, product placement and full-scale brand advertising to increase exposure to 9.0 Optimized, and also will make the new version generally available to consumers online and through CDs distributed in a wide range of retail stores, venues and other marketing outlets. In addition, the Company is working together with leading computer manufacturers to offer AOL 9.0 Optimized on popular desktop and laptop PCs and make it even more convenient for consumers to get the new AOL and software and service.

“Dell’s committed to offer customers AOL 9.0 Optimized on our market-leading personal computers to make it easier for them to enjoy the best possible online experience,” said John Hamlin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Dell’s U.S. Consumer Business. “By bringing America’s favorite PC together with the industry-leading interactive services and content of AOL, our customers will be able to benefit from faster and more robust online sessions.”

Highlights of AOL 9.0 Optimized include:

** Built-in Safety and Security Protections. New protections, including personalized and adaptive spam filters that get smarter as you use them, and enhanced Parental Controls that put parents in control and allow members and their families to take on the Internet’s biggest annoyances on their terms. In addition to these new features, the AOL service also provides members with automatic virus scanning for e-mail attachments.

** New Technologies for a More Seamless Online Experience. AOL’s new TopSpeed(tm) Web acceleration technology that enhances Web surfing at no additional charge, as well as software that will automatically reconnect and restart if an interruption occurs in either a dial-up or broadband session, along with entirely new ways to customize the AOL experience, including a personalized Welcome experience with new options to help members quickly get to important things every time they sign on.

** New Ways to Share and Have Fun Online. New 3D animated SuperBuddy(tm) Icons and a suite of new instant messaging and personalized “expressions” features designed to make it even more fun to be online and to communicate with friends and family through voice conversations using a new AOL(r) Talk Phone, video clips, digital photos, and file sharing.

** New Communications Options. A significant upgrade for AOL(r) Mail that retains AOL’s signature ease of use while incorporating a number of improvements designed for more active and advanced e-mail users, such as: a new Manage Mail tab that makes it easy for members to view all of their mail from one place; the ability to permanently store up to 20 megabytes of mail per Screen Name – for a total of up to 140 megabytes per account – on AOL’s servers at no additional charge; an expanded library of stationery designs, art and sound effects, and smileys to dress up e-mails; and a new Mail QuickView feature that allows members to see recently received mail at-a-glance.

** More Family and Kid-Friendly Fun Features. The new AOL(r) Cash Card program offers a parent-controlled prepaid card that is an easy way to give teens and young adults an online allowance and help teach them good money management habits. This year, AOL is also introducing new, customized versions of the AOL service designed expressly for kids and teens.

** More of the Best On-Demand and Exclusive Programming Online. VIP access to exclusive, original, brand name news, sports, entertainment, and music content that makes the online experience more complete for members.

“AOL 9.0 Optimized underscores the Company’s focus on relentless innovation to deliver what’s most important to our members – providing increased safety and security protections, making their lives easier, and bringing the fun back to being online,” said David Gang, Executive Vice President, AOL Products. “Anticipation is building for the new AOL 9.0 Optimized and we’re excited about delivering this great new product to our members.”

Optimized for Broadband

AOL 9.0 Optimized also builds on the enhancements made specifically for AOL(r) for Broadband members in AOL 8.0 PLUS, which launched in March 2003. We studied how people use broadband, talked to our members about what AOL can offer to enhance their high-speed experience, and translated what we learned into the new features in AOL 9.0 Optimized.

AOL for Broadband, powered by AOL 9.0 Optimized, lets people choose how they want to bring their online experience to life, provides greater protection for members’ privacy and security, enhanced communications features, more entertainment, and the most value all in one place online. Highlights of how AOL for Broadband brings basic broadband to life, include:

** Works With and Enhances Any High-Speed Connection. To get the most from their basic broadband connection, consumers can simply add the AOL for Broadband service to any DSL or cable Internet connection through a local phone, cable TV or Internet provider. And with nationwide coverage, AOL for Broadband is available across the country for AOL members and their families.

** Built-in Protection for Members and Their Family. AOL for Broadband offers the best safety and security features in the industry, including providing around the clock protection and coverage that members on a basic broadband connection need to safeguard their computers and personal information, along with stronger Parental Controls to help families keep kids safer online. Added protections include: McAfee(r) Personal Firewall Express, which helps protect members’ computers from unwanted access and provides an always-on barrier from intrusions. And Internet Access Controls, which allow parents to “lock down” their computer and prevent their child from accessing external browsers or other Internet access programs – like file sharing software.

** Multiple Simultaneous Log-Ins. AOL for Broadband is home networking friendly so members can share all of the benefits of the service with the entire family. With multiple simultaneous log-ins, up to seven AOL Screen Names can be online at the same time with only one AOL for Broadband account and a high-speed connection through a home network. Each AOL for Broadband user can sign on with his or her own Screen Name and enjoy all of their own customized settings and personal preferences, and experience the Internet the way they want. AOL also makes it simple for members to select and install the home networking gear they need.

** All the Information Where You Want, When You Want. AOL for Broadband’s customized Welcome Screen is larger in size to optimize the broadband experience and make it easy for members to find the features, news and information they want, when they want it – on demand, based on their own schedule and interests. And with AOL 9.0 Optimized’s new personalization options, members can also decide what they want to see when they sign on for an entirely personal front-page view of their daily features.

** Enhanced Video@AOL. AOL for Broadband delivers industry-leading video to members on demand. The integrated Video@AOL feature provides instant access to videos from across the AOL service so members can watch breaking news, get weather forecasts, and see the latest in sports, music, movies, games, travel and entertainment – whenever they want, from one place, in crystal-clear quality. New features with AOL 9.0 Optimized include an expanded video library, full-screen theater viewing option, a new Media Player with minimal-to-no buffering, and the ability to share video clips with friends via instant messages and e-mail.

** Enhanced Radio@AOL. AOL for Broadband offers the best online radio experience available with its Radio@AOL for Broadband service that allows members to choose their favorites from more than 175 stations in CD-quality sound. New features with AOL 9.0 Optimized offer members an auto-start option and also the ability to share stations through instant messages and e-mail, as well as access station presets on any computer. AOL’s collaboration with Dolby Laboratories to develop the Dolby AAC format and Radio@AOL’s migration to the Ultravox(tm) streaming media platform result in dramatically improved streaming and sound quality and enables AOL for Broadband members to listen to the CD-quality sound stream in stereo.

** The Best On-Demand and Exclusive Programming Online – News, Sports, Music and Entertainment. AOL for Broadband offers consumers enhanced value with the best on-demand and exclusive programming online and delivers an “all access ticket” to content packages and features from leading brands. Members can enjoy a range of entertainment content available nowhere else, including the popular “Sessions@AOL” Highlights and “Broadband Rocks!(tm) weekly concert series, which showcase top-tier artists in original performances, as well as AOL “Firsts,” which present hotly anticipated releases in music, games, movies and television before they are available elsewhere.

With AOL 9.0 Optimized, AOL for Broadband’s rich programming has been further enhanced with new features and designs for the popular News, Sports and Research & Learn content channels. Whenever they want, members can watch the latest news from ABC News or CNN NewsPass, get weather forecasts around the world, see new music videos, and check out highlights from the major leagues. To enjoy AOL for Broadband’s convenient on-demand viewing, state-of-the art audio and video technology is built in, with no extra plugins or downloads necessary.

Lisa Hook, President of AOL for Broadband, said: “AOL 9.0 Optimized is designed with the broadband consumer in mind, delivering a comprehensive set of features and content that bring high-speed connections to life. From built-in protection for members and their families to the best on-demand and exclusive programming online, this new version of AOL truly optimizes the broadband experience like no other online service.”

AOL members can find out more at Keyword: Upgrade.

For media contacts: to learn more about AOL 9.0 Optimized, view the AOL 9.0 Optimized Product Summary or download graphics, please visit www.aolepk.com.

AOL (r) 9.0 OPTIMIZED Top Feature Highlights

Smarter Spam Filtering: Recognizes E-Mail You Don’t Want. AOL is already blocking millions of spam e-mails everyday. With new personalized and adaptive spam filters, you can set preferences with key terms that help filter out spam e-mail by subject.

SuperBuddy(tm) Icons: Have More Fun Online. AOL’s Instant Messenger(tm) service comes alive with new 3D icons that actually act out some of your common phrases and chat abbreviations. When you type “LOL,” your SuperBuddy icon rolls with laughter.

AOL TopSpeed(tm) Technology: Benefits of Faster Web Surfing With No Extra Charge. AOL’s TopSpeed optimized Web acceleration technology helps you get to favorite Web sites more quickly – whether you are connecting online via dial-up, DSL or cable.

Web Unlock(tm) Tool for Parents: Another Powerful Addition to AOL Parental Controls. The Web Unlock tool offers parents more customization choices by giving them the control over their children’s access to Web sites and Internet content.

My AOL QuickView: More Personal For Each Member. AOL’s new Welcome experience includes a custom-tailored My AOL QuickView tab that creates an entirely personal front-page view for members of their daily features. You can set your My AOL QuickView to be your default Welcome Screen online and whenever you visit AOL.com on the Web.

New E-Mail Management Tools: Designed for More Active and Advanced E-Mail Users. AOL’s enhanced Manage Mail tools let you sort, filter and organize messages for more control. Also, a new Mail QuickView feature makes it convenient to see recently received mail at-a-glance.

More Storage Options: For Your Important E-Mail. Each Screen Name on an AOL member’s account can now store up to 20 megabytes of e-mail indefinitely – for a total of up to 140 megabytes per account – at no additional charge, and access saved messages from any Internet-connected computer.

AOL(r) Journals: AOL’s Easy Blog Feature. You will be able to instantly publish online thoughts, photos, a travelogue and more. AOL Journals are integrated with the new Picture Finder for adding photos and picture albums to text entries, with instant messaging for easy updating while online or via text messages from a cell phone, and through the AOL(r) by Phone voice service.

IM Picture Sharing: Enhances AOL’s New Instant Messaging Features. Now it’s easy to share digital pictures through AOL’s Instant Messenger and AOL(r) Mail services, as well as store them all in one place. You can show friends and family favorite images quickly and effortlessly, without having to upload or download the file more than once.

Best On-Demand and Exclusive Programming: VIP Access to Exclusive and Original News, Sports, Entertainment, and Music Content. With AOL, you get real-time news updates on-demand from the world’s most trusted sources, 175 stations on Radio@AOL, special performances from today’s hottest acts through Sessions@AOL Highlights, AOL exclusives from the entertainment world, all of the latest sports highlights, great content from known brands – People, InStyle, National Geographic, Entertainment Weekly, and more.

AOL(r) Talk: Real-Time Voice Conversations Through Instant Messaging. Now you can conduct voice conversations via instant messaging with others on the AOL and AOL Instant Messenger services using a PC microphone or an AOL Talk Phone — an Internet (USB) phone for AOL members. This makes it possible to talk with friends and family around the world while continuing to remain online.

Address Cards: Now Sharable and Portable With Automatic Updates. AOL’s new Address Cards allow you to automatically share changes to telephone numbers, addresses or personal or work information with friends, family and other contacts. Address Cards are easy to set up – you can decide who you want to share them with online, and you can set preferences to receive automatic updates from friends to keep your Address Book up-to-date.

Shared Family Calendars: Helps Busy People Stay Organized. The new AOL(r) Calendar can be shared with family and friends, who “subscribe” to receive information updates automatically. You can invite others to events directly from the calendar and notify invitees automatically when event information is updated. For convenience, the AOL Calendar can be synched to Palm(tm) and Pocket PC PDA devices, as well as updated offline.

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