OmniSky has announced a 5,000-person beta for its wireless Internet service for Palm V users. It said a full service would start in the first quarter of 2000.

OmniSky - formerly OpenSky - is funded by 3Com, which makes the Palm, and Aether Technologies. The company will join up with AT&T to provide wireless access to email and the Internet across the, over AT&T's Cellular Digital Packet Data network, which provides speeds of up to 19.2Kbps.

OmniSky will team-up with other partners to offer the same service outside the US, and to address other types of devices.

OmniSky's service – announced at Comdex - will include access to any Post Office Protocol (POP3) email service, and the ability to download e-mail headers first to screen out unwanted mail.

The service will include access to specially formatted Web data provided by AvantGo, which repackages news and information from multiple sources. Users will also be able to access regular Web pages from their Palm device.

At the launch in Las Vegas, OmniSky demonstrated how the service was integrated with Palm features such as the address book. For instance, addresses that are retrieved with OmniSky's white pages and yellow pages can be added to the Palm address book or to an email message in a single stylus gesture.

Participants in the open beta program will receive a wireless modem and access until March 31.