For its upgrade of the Minitel, an on-line interactive terminal designed to go into every French home, France Telecom is testing Internet browsing technology from QNX Software Systems Ltd. of Kanata, Canada.
France launched the Minitel program in the 1980s, in the first example of a national mobilization to put households and businesses on-line.
The enhancement, SurfTV, involves a television set-top box that can "offer universal access to almost any on-line service available-Web browsing, e-mail, at-home banking, and more" on the TV set that "every Minitel user already has," said Gordon Bell, president of QNX Software.
COM 1 Video and Data Communication of France worked with QNX and its Voyager browsing product, which is based on the pioneering Spyglass Device Mosaic browser in the system design.
QNX is installing its software in the United States and other countries. Mr. Bell said it can set a standard for Internet delivery into homes because it enables "small devices to provide the same level of functionality as a desktop computer, but without the expensive memory and processor requirements of a desktop operating system."