Hot Products - Internet Appliances
Internet appliances have had an interesting year, with both new introductions and some troubled times. Small startup companies were the first to market with these Internet-only devices, such as the iOpener from Netpliance and the iPhone from InfoGear.
Just one year later, InfoGear has been acquired by Cisco Systems. Netpliance, after struggling with troubling profits and low subscriber numbers, has opted out of the hardware manufacturing business.
But as the fall rolled in, so did the bigger name companies. Compaq released its iPaq, MSN-enabled appliance, as did eMachines. Gateway sided with America Online service to bring forth its own device that uses Transmeta's Crusoe low-power, high-speed processor. But all of these rely on an exclusive relationship with one Internet service provider. Only 3Com, which is beginning to ship its Audrey Web device, allows the consumer to use any ISP he or she wishes.