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Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

Filed under the:  department.
Posted by:Ryan on Wednesday, 21 Mar, 2001 @ 3:20 PM

Several companies in the internet appliance market are now leaving the market, citing it as an immature market that is “likely to generate losses for the foreseeable future.” Most recently, 3com dropped their device, Audrey, after less than stellar performance. Gateway and Netpliance both stopped their IA plans, and Intel and Compaq have had slow sales. Does this all spell the beginning of the end for BeIA (and possibly Be Inc), or is it just cold feet and growing pains? Perhaps the upcoming e-Villa or the new phillips devices will help us find out. What do you think?

61 Responses to “Internet Appliance field a dead-end?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    Note that all the Dead appliances had several things in common:

    1. Special backend support was lacking.
    2. Strong Multimedia capabilities were lacking.
    3. Partnerships with ISP/ASP were non-existant.
    4. Support of 802.11B was not there!
    5. None of them ran BeIA/BeOS.


  2. Anonymous Says:


    Even though I’m not in the market for an IA, I thought the Audrey was pretty cool. (I played with it at Best Buy for like 30 minutes.) Something like that would be perfect for my grandparents and my mother. Maybe on of the ones based off BeIA will take off in the retail market.


  3. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:20:26 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    Damn, forgot my pswd so I’m anon for now…

    With these non-BeIA based IA producers dropping out of the market Be will have all the more chance. This isn’t a thing to be upset about, this is a thing to be smiled apon. All the more reason to expect that the new consumer net devices will herald a new era for Be Inc.

  4. altp Says:

    Maybe …

    The market is only immature because of the lack of a good IA OS and applications … WinCE, linux, QNX and Palm aint gonna cut it …

    BeIA maybe able to break that … at a guess, since i haven’t seen BeIA … but it will be an uphill battle at first.

    IMHO, the ticket to a good IA will be portability … If its not portable, you might as well use a computer or WebTV.

    Secondly strong group ware apps would be needed … all web based and all just as functional and easy to use as the desktop counterparts …

    Cheap cell modemaccess … possibly cheap/portable broadband access …

    Thats what I see in a winning IA … Full multimdia support/plugin support would of course be a must as well.


  5. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:20:26 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    Is the I-net app field a dead end ? I don’t think so.
    We just need to find that “Dangerous App” to make it

    One such “Dangerous App” would be a knock-off of the
    Web TV device. My big beef with WebTV is that the
    screen resolutions are not high enough to get the full
    feel of the Internet. If anyone from Be is listening then
    listen to this. Start developing for HDTV now!! Not next
    week or next year but NOW. Think about it, what is that
    that big honkin screen really? Its just a big monitor that
    is not that much different from XGA. Do a deal with Sony to
    embed a dual processor P3 833 mobo, an approriate graphics card,
    and an ethernet card into one of those 60 inch projection
    hdtv units and BOOM! you have a high end internet browser
    that doesn’t have to subscribe to “special” services to get
    on the I-net. If Be has a deal with Matrox then see if Matrox
    can come up with a HDTV signal decoder card that can plug in
    to that embedded motherboard.

  6. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:33:31 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    just enter your username w/out a password and it will email you a new temp password. You will have to reconfirm your account and change the pass back, but it will get you back into your profile. :)

  7. Nutcase Says:


    just want to point out that i am just trying to foster discussion… i don’t know what will happen with IA’s, but i think Be is in good shape. :)

  8. Anonymous Says:

    yep it offical IA’s are dead

    well I hate to say it but be inc. should have kept trying to make beos a commercal quality os by adding opengl, java, multi-user, & other things that are needed. they came so darn close to making it a really great and use able os for the mass market, and they gave up. that is my opinion flame me if you want to. and dont tell me all that crap about open/bone coming soon, people have been saying that for 9 months.

  9. Solstice Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:52:44 PM

    Re: yep it offical IA’s are dead

    I’m not sure if you or I or anyone could say that with absolute certainty. The Handheld computer market seemed promising when Apple came out with the Newton 100 (which I still own ^_^) But then it quickly died out. There was a complete dead space of two or three years until Palm came around.

    The market has some vitality I think, it’s just waiting for the right combination of elements.


  10. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To chrish @ 03/22/2001 09:09:26 AM

    Re: [No Subject]

    Sony will never put someone else’s OS on the PlayStation2/3 because they lose money on each game console sold. Sony only make money from licencing fees from the games sold - and they have to own the OS to extract the high licence fees.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To chrish @ 03/22/2001 08:49:30 AM

    Re: 3Com

    But the point of 3Com’s Audrey is that it is ISP independent — no ISP lock in the device — and they still fail.

    Remember Sony eVilla and Qubit are ISP-locked. And with Gateway/I-Opener/Audrey’s IA demise, Sony and Qubit may never ship an actual product.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To dhuff @ 03/22/2001 09:53:27 AM

    Re: 3Com

    That’s why the eVilla and Qubit will eventually fail.

    HARP is just a reference platform with only one company willing to take it for a spin. There is a similar device like HARP that is based on QNX and has been shipping for a year now - probably not much business for them either.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Be shouldn’t forget desktop systems

    I don’t have anything against IAs or Be developing BeIA, but I think Be shouldn’t forget the desktop BeOS system. I know Be wants BeOS to be “the second system”, and not to compete with other operating system manufacturers, but BeOS is far more advanced in certain areas than _any_ other desktop system, thanks to the realtime multitasking, very fast system startup time, etc., and with little effort it could compete even with major desktop systems (and maybe server systems, too?). There are new apps released for this system and more users find their way to beos every day (mostly thanks to the personal edition as it’s freely downloadable). Maybe in future computer resellers will be offering also BeOS as preinstalled OS, now that they have began offering Linuxes as choice to windows. And if the windows emulator thing should work, it will offer one reason more to try BeOS.

    ps, I’m going to buy BeOS R5 soon, I’m already using BeOS PE as my only OS on my 800mhz AMD computer, works great.

  14. Anonymous Says:


    Did somebody say ‘focus shift’..?! Really, not… ;-)

  15. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:48:15 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    Dual P3-833 with HDTV class video - your model is totally unrealistic.

    Today’s IA’s hardware specs are already too expensive - that’s why Sony locks you into their eVilla ISP service for $21.95 a month - Sony loses money everytime they sell an eVilla for $499.

    In order to create IA’s cheaply, Geode and other IA hardware platforms come with a 200 MHz CPU with integrated video chipset.

    Remember the Microsoft X-Box with a P3-733 CPU and a HDTV class video card, Microsoft is planning to lose $150.00 on each of the X-Box sold to the tune of a cool total amount of $2 Billion U.S. before Microsoft sees a single dime in profit. Sony might be willing to lose $2 Billion U.S. on PlayStation3 - but definitely not a supercharged eVilla.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:20:26 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    1. When you say special backend support, do you mean Be’s MAP?

    Audrey comes with Marimba’s Castanet software. Castanet is the original PUSH software that dates all the way back to Microsoft Windows 98’s Active Desktop in Internet Explorer 4 - much more powerful than Be’s MAP (which Be haven’t shipped yet)

    2. Almost all IA’s have similar multimedia capabilities - all of them do mpeg, none of them (including BeIA) do quicktime, Linux/BeIA/QNX do realplayer and WinCE do WMA files. Granted I’ll give you that BeIA will do Beatnik - but that’s too obscure of a plug-in anyway.

    The famed BeOS media capabilities don’t matter in the IA world because you cannot open 5 video files at once with an IA (i.e. when you open 5 videos files at once, a Windows desktop would chock but a BeOS desktop wouldn’t) - you don’t have a hard drive and you don’t have RAM’s to do that in an BeIA.

    3. Non-existant partnerships?

    The now dead Gateway IA runs AOL - the largest ISP in the world with 28 million subscribers. You can run Audrey with any ISP. Compaq (not dead yet) ipaq runs MSN.

    The Sony eVilla locks you up with their own ISP for $21.95 a month. The Qubit IA’s are ISP-locked to their OEM customer’s ISP. Granted that Qubit plans to sell some of their IA’s online without ISP-lock, but that’s a small %age of their overall sales and it will come with a higher price tag for the unlock version.

    4. That will add another $100 on the price tag - and IA’s are already overpriced.

    5. None of the dead IA’s run BeIA/BeOS because no company has begun selling BeIA-based IA’s yet.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:33:31 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    This isn’t the go-go 90’s with cheap capital flowing everywhere.

    No one is going to invest in IA’s when they start seeing big companies like 3Com/Gateway leaving the IA market.

    All the big companies are cutting thousand’s of employees.

    All the small companies can’t get VC financing. Remember, this is a hardware business - you need a lot more VC capital than a pure internet software play - i.e. you need to buy delivery trucks.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Solstice @ 03/22/2001 00:01:04 AM

    Re: yep it offical IA’s are dead

    The Apple Newton died because of the handwritten recognition software - can’t do a parellel with the current IA situation.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    BeIA vs BeOS


    I’ve been using for BeOS for over a year now and the more I use it the more I love it. BeOS has to be the friendliest, cleanest, and most stable (hear that Windoze?) OS I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone I talk to in regards to BeOS has the same opinion as I do, and from the way the user base is expanding, I’m not alone in my opinion.

    My personal opinion: BeOS should be the primary focus of Be Inc and put BeIA in the back seat. Currently, the big opposition to Windoze in the PC market is Linux, and may I remind all that it started small? IMHO, BeOS has much potential and should be fully developed.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To altp @ 03/21/2001 10:37:05 PM

    Re: Maybe …

    I see that the high cost of IA production is the biggest threat (and not about OS’es and Apps).

    You can buy a $600 Dell desktop with monitor, but a Sony eVilla will cost you $499 with a $21.95 monthly ISP charge.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Of course it is dead

    The only time anyone in the public was excited about IAs was when the Netpliance came out. And then, the only attention it got was from Geeks on Slashdot and BeNews who showed that you could rip it open, install a ATA hard drive, and slam BeOS or Linux on it (thus defeating the purpose of an IA in the first place.)

    I wrote an essay about this in the fall of 1999, before Be’s focus shift. I figured that people generally want big devices that are powerful and can do more (PC’s can, after all, do desktop publishing, balancing checkbooks, games) rather than many small devices that can do less (IAs for instance, or even the Play Station 2- sony knows people want more PC-like functionality, so they have internet options, DVD etc…).

    Companies that do market research know this- Dell has a great product out right now that fits this very paradigm. They sell a product that allows you to transfer your mp3’s wirelessly to your stereo system via 2.4GHZ band anywhere in your house. That’s the type of functionality that consumers want, and that’s the type of thing IA’s can not provide (Aura is not really an IA)

    In any event, only Sony can save them now. If the eVilla is successful (which I doubt it will be), then Be will be okay. I think Qubit will flop, simply because investors and consumers now wrongly associate new tech with bad tech. We are in a bear market now, and rightly or wrongly, people are holding on to their checkbooks.

    Oh how I wish Be had never gone public…

    PS, who’s the bright guy that made “Reset Fields’ the tab one goes to when he presses Tab?

  22. gabbarsingh Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:20:26 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    The dynamics of this situation are far from simple.

    1. The economy is in tail spin. Which makes people conservative about spending. Hence the IA which now is more flash than need, doesn’t get priority.

    2. The VCs have now cold feet. I’m sure Be is backed by some real strong ones. But the hysteria is contagious to the other IA people such as 3Com, Gateway etc. The expectations are higher than usual and skepticism is highest.

    3. The IA has to present real value. Being cool and convenient is not sufficient. BTW, I and my friends have spent more on digital cameras, compact flash cards, iPaqs etc. than we would ever spend on an IA.

    4. The production costs of IAs would prohibit profits for a long time. Only an ISP lock in seems a viable solution.

    5. The industrial and entertainment are the only two markets that seem promising. The gains/profits would be borderline.

    Be Inc. may need to refocus. And they may be running out of cash. The refocussing is definitely going to toss the Be stock out of the markets.

    Immaterial of IA strategy, BeOS needs following besides the usual -

    1. Strong developer support. There are already stubborn developers hanging out with BeOS. More tools, access to Be engineers, documentation etc.

    2. Java. A lot of development in the enterprise dev is happening in Java. I am a full time Java developer and I run Linux at work. Many developers are frustrated with Java dev under Windows but find the Linux environment hostile. Such people are guaranteed to try out BeOS and come to appreciate it and recommend it.

    3. Enterprise support. BeOS needs to get on the case of Oracle, Informix etc. to get drivers ported, client environments etc. Oracle/Sun would be happy to ship BeOS on x86 h/w as clients w/ their servers than license Windows.

    4. Multimedia. BeOS needs to lead the curve here. Besides codecs, h/w support and things like DVD authoring, Sound mastering needs attention. This can generate revenues immediately.

    Since Java is platform independent, I develop on linux run
    on NT, SCO, Solaris. And multimedia only respects the end product, would prove to be the first frontiers.

    Be Inc. cannot cover all this ground itself. It will need to incubate small developers with experience, commitment and dedication. It will have to fight battles at many fronts. But see all that has been accomplished without Be’s active involvment - BeShare, SoundPlay, Streaming Audio solutions, Napster port, DVD player.

  23. gabbarsingh Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 03:04:19 AM

    Re: yep it offical IA’s are dead

    also the Newtons cost a $1000 against Palm’s $200 or so.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    [No Subject]

    So it’s slowly happening… And it’s great! I still can’t understand why Be had to … um… “pause” BeOS development. Everywhere I went I saw praises and all sort of good stuff about it… It is a complete OS, it’s much better that any other, more stable, frendlier, faster etc etc etc. Now if only it had a better network support at the time of its R5 release, it would be totally unbeatable. Remember all the companies who wanted to support BeOS with apps - Logic, Steinberg and many others… And if Be WOULD stay there for a bit longer, things would change and more people would get involved. Come think of it, even after the focus shi(f)t there are still articles and comp. tables and else and everybody says BeOS is best! It would naturally be WISER to JUST offer BeIA as an addition to the glory that BeOS offers. Since BeOS was the key node in users getting to know Be technology, I presume Be could seduce many of them (potential BeOS users) into using also BeIA. Kinda what Microsoft would do if it were in the place of Be. Like “imagine all the advantages and possibilities and integration”… Be went another weird, desintegration way. It just started pushing BeIA forward and forgot about BeOS. Have you seen a lot of ads promoting BeIA to your parents or grandparents or whoever else? No! NOW all of them have to use a computer, right? So the best way to make them buy an IA would be first to push BeOS on them and then describe what they can do with an IA (explaining that computers “may be difficult to maintain” or else). It was a very stupid turn, nobody knows about BeIA xcept perhaps Sony and those few ppl who visit CeBit (yeah, I know, all of them are going to buy evilla, SURE, folks!). So that’s a dead-end, right. It could have been better but Be made a wrong decesion. What’s good in this situation is that there’s still a MAJOR support of the community and we haven’t given up on BeOS yet… And it’s very important for Be to realise this and bring BeOS back in the first place… It’s going to be slow, yes, but it will be going! Some of you say - 3 years… So it’s just right now. IA is small, and it must be regarded as an extension to main OS, to the computer, to the “mainframe” you use at home (for synchronizing or storing data or any major tasks). That’s my opinion on that. Be, if you hear, please think this over ONCE AGAIN AND CAREFULLY, alright?

  25. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 03:05:48 AM


    BeOS the most stable OS?
    No way! I have to say I think it is quite unstable,
    have never been able to run more that 10 days
    without having to reboot.
    Linux is more stable and Solaris even more than
    Not that I don’t like Be, I use it 99.9% at home.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To gabbarsingh @ 03/22/2001 04:07:44 AM

    Re: yep it offical IA’s are dead

    And how much was avarage Joe’s PC th se days 6000 USD..?

  27. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 04:38:20 AM

    Re: [No Subject]

    >And it’s very important for Be to realise this
    > and bring BeOS back in the first place… It’s
    >going to be slow, yes, but it will be going! Some
    >of you say - 3 years…

    As near as anyone can judge, they’ll run out of money before that. Be has bet the farm on the success of IA’s.

  28. chrish Says:


    One thing to keep in mind is the fact that 3Com could screw up any product, in any field.

    The “old” IA business models (like the iOpener) are seriously flawed; nobody wants to be locked in, so nobody (even people that would benefit
    from the simplicity) will buy them.

    It would certainly be a nice change of pace for Be to announce that a BeIA-based device is _shipping_.

    - chrish

  29. chrish Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 04:38:20 AM

    Re: [No Subject]

    Be had to move away from BeOS because it wasn’t paying the bills. People aren’t willing to pay for operating systems… blame Microsoft (Windoze comes “free” with your computer) and Linux (it’s free, assuming your time has no value).

    The “MAJOR” community support you mention doesn’t seem to include a willingness to actually pay for software, books, support, the OS, etc.

    Be still has a chance to survive, but someone needs to actually ship a BeIA device. Sony should put BeIA or BeOS on the PS2 and PS3, too; it’d probably be an excellent spur to development to have a proper OS and dev environment for these consoles.

    - chrish

  30. dhuff Says:

    In Response To chrish @ 03/22/2001 08:49:30 AM

    Re: 3Com

    3Com obviously didn’t understand any potential IA market. Webpads are just too expensive right now for what you get (I believe the article stated an Audrey might well be more expensive than the cheap eMachines PC sitting next to it ;) And what was up with that Kerbango “Internet radio” thing anyway ?? Regular FM radios are cheap and reception is good & free in any major city. How could the add’l cost of a reasonably high-speed ‘net connection for one of these things possibly be justified ?

    IAs have so much more potential than “webpads,” Internet connected refridgerators and other such questionable things. My favorite is HARP, and I’m sure there are others. To get an idea of what real, useful IAs might be like, read Donald Norman’s excellent The Invisible Computer: Why Good Products Can Fail, the PC Is So Complex, and Information Appliances Are the Answer. Norman’s website is here.

    (Note: this is pretty much the same response I posted over at BeNews, but there seems to be more activity on this in BeGroovy’s forums today ;)

  31. Adam Smith Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 04:44:22 AM

    Re: Stable?

    I figure your post may be flame-bait, but I am genuinely curious. What forces you to reboot?

  32. rgering Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:30:48 PM

    Re: Darn…

    I agree…but I never really saw any ads that would reach this type of person.
    I think the device so far has been marketed to techies, but they have computers and gadget heads want something that is portable. There is a great market for this product and I think that BeIA will give the market a more flexable device that will have a wider appeal. Sony knows how to market a product and they attract the gadget lovers…

  33. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Adam Smith @ 03/22/2001 09:53:58 AM

    Re: Stable?

    One time N hanged, so I “wulcan deathgriped” it.
    It left a dead window, was no way to close it.
    Tried to kill app_server and start app_server again
    ‘kill -9 app_server ; /system/servers/app_server picasso’
    in a Terminal, but the app_server didn’t want to
    come up..
    Another time som program leaked memory causing a
    kernel panic.

    Note: I’ve only been running 24/7 since I got cable
    modem, a mounth ago.
    And I did some delibriate reboots also..

  34. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:52:44 PM

    Re: yep it offical IA’s are dead

    I couldn’t agree more - Be was so, so close to having a great desktop OS, but they just don’t seem very interested in competing with MS. It’s a shame - I think the market for another consumer desktop OS is ripe, but Be seems to have missed their chance. As for IA’s, when compaq, 3-com, and other larger companies give up it’s obvious there is something wrong…

  35. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To chrish @ 03/22/2001 08:49:30 AM

    Re: 3Com

    > One thing to keep in mind is the fact that 3Com
    > could screw up any product, in any field.

    True, any company that could downplay a wonderfully evocative name like USRobotics in favour of its own bland corporate nothingness …

  36. Anonymous Says:

    Internet Appliances

    I’m convinced that IA’s will be an extremely important means of accessing the internet in the future.

    Unfortunately it’s impossible to sell them to the technophobes when stores hide them in a corner behind the “real” computers and the sales staff doesn’t know what they are, or how they operate, and immediately make the hard sell for the full function computer. Most people are using a computer to surf the net and send e-mail, for them an IA would be very satisfactory. AND the average user doesn’t update their system with the latest browser or plug-ins.

    The early adopters would be a good market IF the IA was fully functional with the latest browser and all plug-ins.

    It will take someone like Sony with mass market sales experience to begin to educate the technophobes.

    I’ve been using an i-opener since 2/00 for e-mail, quick news and information. I can make a list of all the things it should do BUT as a simple COMMUNICATIONS device it performs as advertised.

    There are many things a PC will do that an IA won’t do unfortunately too many in the industry seem to continue to lose sight of the need for a simple COMMUNICATIONS device, a VISUAL telephone.

    The eVilla sounds like it will be fully-functional with options for user add-ons if required: storage, printer, scanner, sync to PDA, Broadband.

    QUIT thinking computer start thinking of a VISUAL version of the telephone, a communication link.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 02:51:06 AM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    “Audrey comes with Marimba’s Castanet software. Castanet is the original PUSH software that dates all the way
    back to Microsoft Windows 98’s Active Desktop in Internet Explorer 4 - much more powerful than Be’s MAP (which
    Be haven’t shipped yet)”

    If they haven’t shipped MAP yet, how do you know Castanet is more powerful? :)

  38. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 03:43:18 AM

    Re: Of course it is dead

    “Reset Fields” is generally included by CGI programmers that don’t know any better. There are very few instances where it’s appropriate, yet it seems to appear with a frequency that suggests sadistic delight. This is one of those situations where it makes zero sense to have a “reset” button, especially one that comes FIRST(?!?)…

    See Jakob Nielsen’s article that touches on this:

  39. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 2:45:22 PM

    Re: Of course it is dead

    I believe Slashdot had a Reset button on the posting form at one time, but it doesn’t anymore.

  40. mlk Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 11:22:26 AM

    Re: yep it offical IA’s are dead

    It’s not a case of not wanting to compete with MS, I’m 100% sure Be Inc would _LOVE_ to compete with ms.

    But they CAN NOT AFFORD TO! It’s monney, plain and simple. Be Inc needs some, IA’s were/are ment to be the “next big thing”, and Be Inc though, “Ahhh Cash…”.

    I hope IA’s take off, personally the only way I see them surving is with cool toys like HARP (esp a video version), Game consols and advanced communication tools (not web-only, but full video confrencing, fax, phone, email all in one) and psion-a-likes (plam tops).


  41. mlk Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 12:27:12 AM

    Re: [No Subject]

    You could put BeIA (or other OS) on a Games machine, and still charge.

    Someone is doing it for linux.

    Your not paying for the dev tools, but the ‘right’ to release software on that hardware.

    It would be beafical for Sony to do so (in some ways, nice dev platform, familer (for Be Devs anyhow) etc.


  42. mlk Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 1:46:39 PM

    Re: Internet Appliances

    here here, you stick a camra on one, and i’d jump on it for my g/f’s mum.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Internet Appliances…..

    …are, were and will be utter waste of time. I said that all along and got flamed for it on this board.

    Welcome to reality!


  44. Anonymous Says:

    Just thinking outside the sandbox

    From what I’m reading from the comments posted above this one, here are some of the things I’m hearing a lot:

    The IA market doesn’t look promising because a lot of folks out there are of the opinion that basically you can just use your pc to do what the IA is promising. That, and those folks who hate the pc and would love to use an IA aren’t really getting marketted to.

    Sony-Be could spend more money marketting the IA to those consumers in Catagory B, or they could do the same thing while making some dough. Try to push the evilla into use at public locations such as airports, malls, stadiums, libraries, etc. They could be used as quick email stations or friendly help stations or something. That’ll expose them to public and if the folks in Catagory B get comfortable with them in these environments and see them for sale at the local appliance store, they might be more willing to jump for them. Those public locations might like this deal because they get an easier-to-use/cheaper terminal that doesn’t include all the headaches of a pc(I’m talking about Windoze).

    Restaurants and retail stores could posibly use these IA’s as Point-Of-Sales systems (with modifications made).

    If the Sony-Be IA had digital camera support (as another commenter suggested) and high speed ethernet support, Corporations might be able to use them in Teleconferencing or something without having to waste a pc to do the same task.

    On the BeOS side, they could start talking with Oracle (as another commenter suggested). Be could say “We know you hate Windoze. We do to! Let’s make some beautiful music together.”

    Look, I am by far no expert on what Be should do or how what I’ve said would work out. I’ve just had some thoughts I thought of sharing with the world.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    [No Subject]

    All of the naysayers will be quite surprised at how quickly internet access, and IA’s, becomes as common as telephones. Imagine IA’s as common as phones in hotel rooms. The European screen phones are a move in the proper direction, BUT both screen and keyboard are too small.

    There is ZERO reason why anyone should be using a PC for e-mail and info retrival from the internet.

    Wake up, this isn’t about complicated technology this IS about information, communication.

    STOP thinking about technology, start thinking about simple connections.

    Everyone who desires a computer has purchased at least one, many have progressed thru 4 or 5, to expand your market you must learn to provide the customer with a product they can use without thought or training. It must integrate into their lives seamlessly. VERY few have anything to compute, VERY FEW.

    There is no reason why digital cameras couldn’t downloads to the net thru an IA, or a scanner. HP already has printers that will print without a computer.

    Compute HELL, Communicate YES.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To gabbarsingh @ 03/22/2001 04:04:08 AM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    Hit the nail right on the head with your outlined focus shift. I think Be Inc should not take the professional workstation market for granted. Already TASCAM, Roland, BIAS are taking BeOS seriously for Audio/Video work. If Be Inc were to encourage their OS into the field they created it for with media codec updates/support and great high end hardware support then Mac heads et all, would jump on this OS in no time. They want a powerful solution that is hastle free. Mac is relatively hastle free except for the crap behaviour of the OS, Windows 2000 is semi powerful but man do you have to f around in its guts to get it there and then niether combine or have the capabilities compared to BeOS.
    I think Be Incs use of BeIA pushing towards interconnected audio consoles and the like is a great way for IA to go, not web pads, but they also need to push towards the high end media content creators.

    Java and connectivity to backend systems like Oracle and Sun would be a good start especially as Sun Microsystems CEO hates MS as does everyone else.

    Push this OS where it was designed to go, word processing is only a little part of what BeOS is about compared to Windows and Mac (even if it is in the guise of Graphic Design (-:).

    Piers Bray

  47. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:52:44 PM

    yep it’s official, you’re a moron.

    You honestly think BeOS could suddenly start making a profit in the desktop OS market, which is dominated by Microsoft, versus an emerging market with NO dominant force (and a market which fits Be’s OS characteristics PERFECTLY, to boot!)

    You sir, are a moron!

  48. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 03:05:48 AM

    Re: BeIA vs BeOS

    Ha, that’s a good one. Yes, compete with Microsoft!

    That makes so much more sense than dominating the emerging IA market!

  49. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 8:52:52 PM

    Re: [No Subject]

    The European’s and Japanese’s adoption of alternative internet devices (like the i-mode cell phones) is the result of high PC prices and the lack of unlimited ISP service. The presence of cheap PC’s and cheap unlimited ISP service vastly reduce the likelihood of such adoption of alternative internet devices in North America.

    Digital cameras and HP printers run on VxWorks - their CPU’s aren’t x86 and their RAM’s are simply too small for BeIA.

  50. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 8:02:16 PM

    Re: Just thinking outside the sandbox

    While your views on malls, libraries and airports are good, the problem is that those places are more likely to have a kiosk-based IA where VxWorks/QNX are the front runners. Kiosk makers have been around much longer than IA manufacturers and that they are more likely more cost conscience - where they are likely to use true embedded OS because of lowered hardware cost.

    BeIA is not suitable for PoS systems or corporate thin clients. There is simply no real corporate backend/frontend software available. You can access Oracle from a PalmPilot and you can access IBM DB2 on a QNX. WinCE/QNX have Citrix ICA clients.

  51. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 2:03:21 PM

    Re: Internet Appliance field a dead-end?

    Because Castanet has been used extensively in Fortune 500 companies’ intranet environments. Castanet has been battle tested by real corporate IT administrators - much more than just up-dating the web-brower/email client/video player remotely. MAP looks like a PhotoShop Lite Edition when compared to Castanet.

  52. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To mlk @ 03/22/2001 4:02:36 PM

    Re: [No Subject]

    If you are talking about the Irmedia (spelling ??) Linux console - read this month’s Next Gen magazine.

    Their business model is to get most of their revenue from content delivery. Independent game developers can pay Irmedia for compatibility testing purposes (if they pass then they can put the Irmedia logo on the box set). BUT INDEPENDENT GAM DEVELOPERS DON’T HAVE TO DO COMPATIBILITY TESTING TO RELEASE THEIR GAMES COMMERCIALLY. Much like hackers creating their own UT mods.

    I don’t see a viable business model on this.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 9:30:04 PM

    Re: [No Subject]

    All that you say is quite true, however PC’s are not the simple, user friendly device required to move beyond the 50% penetration the internet now has. Look beyond the narrow tech world the internet WILL be pervasive, access will be simple AND it won’t involve turning anything on.

    Information will be as simple as typing in a request and having it appear on a screen.

    All of the interface issues can and will besolved when you begin designing for the user not the techie.

  54. Anonymous Says:

    They’ll be everywhere

    Ia’s are by no means dead, not least because they’re just beginning to be born. A recent article on a popular science program on BBC TV showed people very happily consumer testing web pads which were in the backs of train and plane seats. Great idea, and there are plenty of other circumstances where these things can be really useful.

    At the moment we have here in Amsterdam the largest Internet cafe in Europe. It’s open 24/7 and it’s busy as heck. The users aren’t doing anything that requires the heavyweight power of a modern PC. Neither are many peole in the work place. Imagine these things in hospitals (for staff and patients) , building sites, factories. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to realise that there’s a potentially huge market for these devices. Yes, we know that they aren’t as powerful or as flexixible as PC’s, but most of these devices will be sold in large numbers to corporations, public bodies and governments etc. rather than individual units to consumers. Be are absolutely correct to follow this strategy as it really does have the potential to make them a lot more money than they were ever going to make in OS sales.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/21/2001 10:52:44 PM

    Re: yep it offical IA’s are dead

    no they are not dead. mine has plugins java and a lot of other stuff

  56. Zaranthos Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 04:44:22 AM

    Re: Stable?

    I have run BeOS 5.0x on a dozen computers and the only stability problems I have seen are with poor hardware or overclocking. I have run BeOS for over a month on several different computers with the only reason to reboot being a hardware upgrade.

    BeOS is the most stable OS I have ever used.

  57. Anonymous Says:


    These days you can get a low-end pc for ~300…..
    with MORE capabilities and room for expansion/upgrades than some lame ‘internet appliance’ .
    Now…. WHY THE HELL would someone want one?!?!
    They are only ment for dullards and invalids! :P
    It’s a niche market….LOL
    Sad but true for Be Inc.
    Throwing all your marbles into one bag is always a piss-poor idea, I only wish they’d get off of their arses and release a REAL upgrade like ohhhhh i dunno… bone GL a real fahking www browser? :p

  58. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 1:46:39 PM

    Re: Internet Appliances

    The problem with internet appliance marketing is that they are directed toward a consumer. I believe that this idea of making them public access terminals, like payphones, would be the way to go. However, it is much harder to gain the support of airports than it is to get the blessing of Sony. Be Inc had better start focusing its BeIA system in the right direction, or its going down the tubes in the near future.


  59. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/22/2001 03:05:48 AM

    Re: BeIA vs BeOS

    Yes, BeOS is stable enough by itself. A lot of the software for BeOS, however, is developed by hobbyists and new developers that don’t necessarily have a complete grasp on the intricacies of the BeOS. I’ve had numerous problems with programs that crash, but I’ve only had an errant app take down the OS *once* and that was because it was abusing a kernel-level experimental driver.

    Anything that runs at kernel-level has the ability to take down the OS, and that’s why great pains should be taken to ensure that the drivers are correct the first time (another reason why BONE is taking a while)

    If you don’t believe me, try installing a virgin copy of windows 98. As long as you don’t install any drivers and basically run in safe mode the system will be stable for a *long* time, provided that you don’t have severe hardware conflicts.

    Problems like this are not necessarily because of the OS. The OS does the best it can to prevent applications from destroying it. To date, I have not seen a bug in BeOS that causes the entire OS to crash that was not related to an unsupported/experimental/unrevised or buggy kernel-level driver or application.

    Even Linux and Win2k can be killed by kernel-level drivers, despite their relative stability. Another thing that no OS to this date has been able to adequately solve is deadlocks. Every OS I have heard of has taken no real preventative measures against them, because they are too time-consuming and incur too much overhead.

  60. Anonymous Says:

    [No Subject]

    Here are some of the reasons I think internet appliances are bad idea at this time:

    Remember WebTV?

    The idea of integrating the computer with the TV definitely was going in the wrong direction. Most people are less likely to be willing to give into a much less powerful alternative “appliance” then they are to invest in a computer that offers general purpose value to the user. I can see that IA may have a commercial function, but if it is marketed to consumers it won’t do very well for that reason. Laptops are of comparable quality to desktop models, and that is one of the reasons they are widely accepted. As a consumer myself I want an electronic device that frees rather than discriminates. The more my device can do, the more I am satisfied with the value and expandibility it offers. Why waste money on a *new* device that is no more clever than a P100 I’ve got in the basement that cost $50 and can do a whole helluva lot more? What would really be nice is a device that could completely administer a server by remote with a real-time screen-scraper. It would need a TCP/IP stack and a screen with some sort of input and a 30 fps internet connection among other things, but for all intents and purposes I WOULD be on my remote machine. What would I pay for this technology? $200-$400. THAT is an appliance I’d be interested in.

    Remember that just because someone doesn’t NEED something doesn’t mean they don’t want it. Society is all about useless crap these days, and everyone thinks everyone else doesn’t really need stuff, until they turn around and apply that logic to themselves. Would you give up your desktop for something less powerful? If not, would you buy both when one can do the same thing and more? What about service and bandwidth fees? IA got a bad rep from that “internet-enabled refridgerator” metaphor. Personally, I wouldn’t want my refridgerator to contact a service repairman when it breaks, because they would just irritate me. It’s a sign of status and recognition of peers to have crap that we don’t really need. It makes us feel important.

    This seems to me to be the way IA is going: just more money to shell out for services - just another bill at the end of the month.

    The internet was never intended to be that way. The internet should be free, and if the FCC weren’t around it would be - we would have had free wireless technologies years ago.

    It’s bad enough that the big-wigs are bugging out, but it concerns me that Be has placed all their chips on this. If the big-wigs are bugging out, hopefully that will leave more of a market for eVilla, if the market is even that large. Is the “good enough for granny” market big enough? And I laugh to think what would happen if the internet went down.

    I really hope that I am wrong, because I don’t want to see Be go down. What I want to see Be doing is work on BeOS. I want to see BONE and accelerated OpenGL come out. I want more support from driver developers (don’t think I haven’t asked the hardware vendors) and I want a game-oriented input API that will let me start writing games for the BeOS.

    IA is a big risk, and I hope it pans out for Be. I wouldn’t want to see them go the way of WebTV. It’s crap that’s made for grandma, as anyone can see. And as I always say in closing: f*** the FCC.

  61. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 03/29/2001 3:14:19 PM

    Re: [No Subject]

    > Remember that just because someone doesn’t NEED
    > something doesn’t mean they don’t want it. Society
    > is all about useless crap these days, and everyone
    > thinks everyone else doesn’t really need stuff,
    > until they turn around and apply that logic to
    > themselves.

    What other explanation can there be for the popularity of SUVs ?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…
    – Fazal Majid

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