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[Fwd: [webwatch] NYT: For Extra Cheese, Ctrl+Pizza]

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 07:57:07 -0500
Message-ID: <38A40723.68F2F9D5@clark.net>
To: User Agent Working group list <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
so, now is the pc the ua?

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [webwatch] NYT: For Extra Cheese, Ctrl+Pizza
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 13:40:44 -0800
From: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
Reply-To: "webwatch" <webwatch@telelists.com>
To: "webwatch" <webwatch@telelists.com>

>From the web page:

http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/02/circuits/articles/10nett.html

February 10, 2000

For Extra Cheese, Ctrl+Pizza

Net Appliances Offer Instant, Pain-Free Access to E-Mail and the Web.
But
Can a Special Key for Pizza Make Up for Not Having a Hard Drive? 
By MICHEL MARRIOTT


Sleek, simple and easy to use. 
Sounds like a throwback to an earlier age when television commercials
hawked space-age-design electric ranges and bullet-nosed vacuum
cleaners,
but the phrase is resurfacing to describe a new class of computers
called
Internet appliances that are so, well, sleek, simple and easy to use
that
they barely seem to qualify as computers. 



 
Matthew Sturtevant for The New York Times  
The Martins--Chuck, Kim and young Emily and Walker--use a Web
appliance. 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
 

As the category suggests, Net appliances -- with cute names like
i-opener,
I-Brow, i-Station and Qubit Web Tablet -- act more like microwaves
than
mainframes. Push a button and they are on, up and running. And you
don't
have to be a computer science major to keep these things humming.
Actually,
Internet appliances don't have moving parts, so they don't hum, rattle
or
rumble. 

Forget about these friendly machines guiding NASA probes or even
navigating
the intricacies of your income taxes. These computers, endowed with
modest
microprocessors and even more modest memory and onboard storage, are
aimed
squarely at getting consumers cheaply, quickly and almost effortlessly
onto
the Internet. 

For ease of use, most of these computers will come with factory-set
function keys that literally put weather, e-commerce, news and
services
like e-mail and virtual address books at the user's fingertips. 

On the first appliance to appear on the market, the $299 i-opener,
there is
even a function key for pizza. Press it and the machine's 10-inch,
color
screen pops up a Web site, complete with an order form, for a local
pizza
parlor. Other devices have preset e-commerce sites to deliver
everything
from music CD's to steamed mussels. 

This new wave of Internet machines is ushering in what many experts
are
calling the post-PC age, in which access to the Internet's goodies
will no
longer be exclusive to conventional computers. 

Other devices, like WebTV-style set-top boxes, handheld personal data
assistants like the Palm VII, Web phones and even game consoles like
Sega's
Dreamcast, will increasingly give users easy access to the Internet. 

Microsoft, Intel, Compaq, Acer and several other companies, big and
small,
are preparing to offer Internet-only terminals by the summer. Many are
expected to cost from $200 to $400, and some may even be given to
consumers
free in exchange, for example, for signing up for broadband Internet
service to connect them. 

"This is a new category of candy that the consumer is going to no
doubt
find irresistible," said Michael Dunstan, senior manager of the Acer
America Corporation, which this summer will release the I-Station, an
inexpensive Internet-only terminal with a bright liquid crystal
display
color screen and a wireless keyboard, as well as a sister machine sold
as
one of the MSN Web Companion devices. 

Internet appliance manufacturers are trying to reach the almost 48
million
American households -- almost half of all the nation's households --
that
do not have computers. "We want to target that 48 percent," said B. J.
Riseland, product manager at Microsoft Network, which will soon
release an
Internet appliance. "We've found that people don't have computers for
a
couple of reasons: cost and complexity." 

Most of the machines do not have hard drives, so they are not capable
of
storing very much on their limited flash memory. None of the machines
aimed
at American markets have input devices like CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or even
floppy
drives, so playing Tomb Raider or making a spreadsheet in Microsoft
Office
will have to wait for the full-function personal computer to boot up. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
  
For computer users who want only e-mail and Web access, there are
sleek new
machines to oblige.   

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
  



"The personal computer has a lot of functionality that a lot of people
don't necessarily need," said Bryan Ma, consumer device analyst for
the
International Data Corporation, a consulting group that tracks global
technology information. 

Mr. Ma said he was optimistic that Internet appliances would become
mass
market devices because consumers are increasingly unwilling to pay for
expensive and hard-to-maintain computer bells and whistles, features
that
many never wanted anyway. 

But Mr. Riseland, echoing the sentiments of other Net appliance
makers,
said the devices are not intended only for the technological
have-nots.
Manufacturers hope that Net appliances will also serve as companion
technologies to people who are happy with their computers but want a
faster, easier way to go online. Many Net appliance makers, after all,
are
heavily invested in the future of personal computers. 

A simple way of understanding the difference between an Internet
appliance
and a personal computer, Mr. Dunstan of Acer said, is to think of a PC
as a
kitchen stove that can do lots of things -- bake, cook, fry. Then
think of
an information appliance as a coffee maker. 

"You can brew coffee on a stove, but you can do it a lot easier with a
coffee maker," Mr. Dunstan said. "That's the whole idea. An Internet
appliance does one or two things really, really well."
Received on Friday, 11 February 2000 07:57:12 GMT

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