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CNET: Netpliance quadruples price of I-opener Internet device

Jul 06, 2000, 15:05 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Fried)

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"In the past week, the Austin, Texas-based firm has gone from charging $99 to nearly $400 for the I-opener, an all-in-one Internet access device that combines an Internet terminal, keyboard, built-in mouse and 10-inch liquid crystal display (LCD). Netpliance president Kent Savage said the $99 price was always designed as a promotional tool. He said company research shows people are willing to pay between $299 and $499 for a Web appliance."

"At the same time, the appliance market is becoming more crowded. Last month, Intel unveiled its Dot.Station, a Linux-based Internet appliance. Low-cost PC maker Emachines, among others, plans to sell an MSN Web Companion, a countertop appliance built around Microsoft's online service, staring this fall. Doherty said other consumer electronics firms will enter the market later this year."

"Many of these other devices cost about the same, and sometimes more, to manufacture, but the retail price is kept artificially low through subsidies provided by the monthly service fees. By contrast, Netpliance has no subsidy plans at the moment. The company charges $21.95 a month for Internet access but does not require consumers to subscribe for any specified time period. The I-opener will not work with other Internet service providers, however, making a subscription effectively mandatory."

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