LaunchPad Technologies this week heralds its reinvention as EntryPoint and the beta release of a new product with the same name. It’s a free “desktop companion,” one of a new genre of applications that reside inside the user’s computer and add functionality to accessing the Web.
A movable tool bar, EntryPoint offers a scrolling ticker and icons for news, finance, shopping, general information and search. It combines features from LaunchPad’s original product, eWallet, introduced in November 1998, with some of those from push media company PointCast, which San Diego-based LaunchPad bought last May.
PointCast’s product was criticized for hogging bandwidth and slowing down computing, delivering information to desktops using the now reviled “push” method (since rehabilitated under the moniker streaming media).
EntryPoint has pared down the information pushed from the Web, and instead provides links for those who want to download more. Content comes from more than 30 PointCast partners including Reuters, Associated Press and S&P Comstock.
“We wanted the opportunity to take [PointCast’s] news component and add it to [eWallet’s] commerce component,” said Francis Costello, former LaunchPad COO, now EntryPoint president and CEO. For now, PointCast will be supported for existing users.
EntryPoint is ad-supported with paid-for merchant buttons, ads in pop-up screens and banners on the EntryPoint site. Ads can appear in the news ticker, while offers for credit cards can pop up when a user selects a competitor’s card with which to shop.
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