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February 24, 2000 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1-- . .

126 A e Michigan Daily -We&- d, etc. Magazine Thur y, February 24, 2000






Who needs a computer to surf the web?

my? TOO A I Yswr
Weekend, Etc. Editor
A year ago, the only way to access
email was either via an early hand-
held with e-mail access or a full
fledged comptuer. For surfing the
Internet, the only means of browsing
was with a full-fledged computer.
As modern technologies have
matured, such hybrid products have
developed, blurring the lines between
computer and computer companion,
and eventually creating something

altogether different.
Most personal computers are used
primarily for office productivity and
surfing the Internet. It is not often
that a computer necessary for office
productivity does not require some
form of Internet access. The reverse
is not always true. A new type of
device, something not quite a full
comptuer and yet Internet capable,
was born.
There are a myriad of manufactur-
ers, from the big PC companies to
startups developing this new brand

Internet devices. Companies such as
Acer, Compaq and Vestel are using
the Microsoft Web Companion sys-
tem, which runs Windows CE and
uses the Microsoft Network (MSN)
as its Internet Service Provider.
Several firms are going the non-
Microsoft route - the Netpliance I-
Opener is based on the QNX
Realtime operating system,
Simpliance eMailBox is based on the
AppForge OS and Boundless
Technologies' iBrow is using
vxWorks under the hood.
The prices for these products are
similarly non-traditional. Boundless
Technologies' iBrow is giving their
product away for free. Branding
agreements made with ISPs, online
trading services and even banks allow
Boundless to distribute the iBrow
free to partners' clients. Sites using
iBrow get their appliances preset to
go to their pages and using their
propietary software further branding
the products to their customers.
Other manufacturers plan on sell-
ing their appliances and then charg-
ing monthly fees for Internet ser-
vices. For example the eMailBox
costs $99, plus $8 per month for
Internet access. Netpliance, the first
company with a Internet appliance
with mass distribution, is selling their
I-Opener for $299, plus access for
$21.95 a month. A deal recently
inked with Circuit City allows users
to buy the device for a hundred dol-
lars less.
All of these will be devices are
slick, small and efficient. They are
being designed to boot-up instantly
and go into sleep mode when not in
use, making them immediately avail-
able. Most systems will be delivered
preconfigured with the user's e-mail

. .



,. t - a l11f
.,. W > "+

Courtesy of Netphance
The I-Opener is the first and most widely distributed of the new web devices.
Running on the Windows CE platform, it provides Internet access at a low price.

address and dial-up number, making
installation of the devices even easier
to perform than even the iMac.
These products are obviously not
full-featured computers, projected to
serve as devices in libraries,
kitchens, classrooms and other
places where only Internet access
and not a full fledged computer is
needed. Of course, with the increase
of Internet applications and online
storage, a device with Internet access
might be all a standard computer
user requires.
There is apparently a growing
market for these products. Based on
current market trends, IDC, a tech-
nology research firm, predicts that
over 50 million devices will be sold

by 2002. Manufacturers are produc-
ing their products as quickly as pos-
sible in hopes to build their brands
quickly and therefore mold the mar-
kets favorably to their products.
Despite the hype surrounding
these new products, traditional PCs
are by no means deal. According to
IDC the traditional PC market grew
by over 50 percent in the summer of
1999. The number of U.S. homes
with PCs exceeded 50 percent last
year, with approximately 25 percent
of those homes, owning at least two
computers. Like handheld devices
and Internet-enabled phones, these
Internet devices are just another
means to get people connected to the
net in the new millenium.

Courtesy of Psion
The Psion Revo is a later stage paltop device. It has organizational features such
as a calendar and contact list and is also equiped to send and receive e-mail.

Continued from Page 3B
Recloose's unwillingness to compro-
mise his desires has brought him down
a strange road few students have the

courage to travel. Many envy the oppor-
tunities bestowed upon University
grads, who often get first dibs on many
of the best jobs in the country, but some
students always pass up these opportu-
nities in their search for self-fulfill-

... ,....."b . .....,. _ _ _ _

ment. In the case of Recloose, this
meant courageously attempting to make
a sincere career as a musician, true to
his craft rather than the aims of com-
"I'm on this seesaw right now,'
Recloose said in conclusion. "I'm
wanting to think that I can do this, but
if the money doesn't pick up, at some
point I'm going to have to figure
something out. I wentto Michigan,
you know? I have a degree, and I'm
still here chasing my dream. I'm hav-
ing good results, I think, but there's a
point where you gotta survive, too.
Being a starving artist is only cool up
to a point. You can only romanticize it
so much. It would be great if I could
make this my livelihood, and in the
future keep making music, making it
more of a career."
Three and a half years after graduat-
ing, the young artist may still struggle
with his decision to pass up a secure
path through life with ample spending
money, a nice car and a house in the
suburbs with white picket fences and
rose bushes, but one cannot deny his
remarkable accomplishments. No mat-
ter the path his life may head in the
future, Recloose will at least never
regret compromising his dreams for
the dollar bill.

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