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CNET News.com: Internet appliance boom hampered by high display costs

Jun 07, 2000, 00:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Kanellos)

"What's holding up the Internet appliance market proponents say will revolutionize computing as we know it? Glass. The high price of display screens, among other components, is keeping the price of home terminals, Web pads and other next-generation Internet access devices relatively high, makers here said. As a result, these products carry price tags that are roughly equivalent to--or higher than--low-priced PCs, putting device manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage."

"Many devices also use the Linux operating system rather than Microsoft Windows, which means hardware makers or Internet service providers can ink deals to sell screen space for advertisements and other promotions."

"The Aqua Web Pad from First International Computer is one of the more heavily touted products at Computex, a trade show taking place here. The Aqua, which should be ready for volume production by November, comes with a Transmeta Crusoe processor, a Linux OS and a Sony Memory Stick port, said Julia Kuo, a project manager for the company. The 1.5-pound device will connect directly to the Internet through a wireless modem."

"Even devices that use more standard monitor technology are only able to show limited cost savings. Proview, among others, is developing all-in-one countertop appliances that combine a regular CRT monitor, a version of Linux and a National Semiconductor processor into one package. These machines will sell for around $299 without a hard drive. Versions with a hard drive and more robust features go for $499."

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