"Although the giant halls at Las Vegas are supposed to be
individually themed, every one lists "Information Appliances" on
its menu. The term is becoming as ubiquitous as "uses
electricity"... and is probably about as redundant. Well... if they
aren't information appliances what are they supposed to be doing,
heating the room? In which case what are they doing at Comdex?
We'll give you the full rundown of webpads later but first honours
should go to the Ericsson device, which will be the first to reach
"It's a wireless tablet that shuns the NatSemi and Transmeta
chips used in just about every other appliance we've seen this week
in favour of StrongARM. The twist is its use of a small Bluetooth
base station as the wireless backbone, and although comms are
currently provided by a 56k dial-up modem, broadband versions are
planned for Q3 2001. The pad uses Red Hat Linux and the Opera
browser, rather than Mozilla."
"Ericsson says it will be priced somewhere between a "tethered"
appliance and a low-end PC. We got hints that subsidies would
figure in the plan, somewhere. The pad should be launched into
"five or six" European countries and the US in March, although
things will start to get interesting in the second stage. With that
broadband version, Ericsson says the appliance will become more
of an open platform, and Red Hat is working on a seamless way of
downloading appropriate applets, making this the first Linux
appliance with pretensions to being a platform, rather than
somewhere where the Penguin remains hidden behind the
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