The Internet has become extremely popular within the last few years, however there are many people throughout the world that cannot afford to invest money on expensive PC systems to access this vast service of information and services. To combat this problem, products have been released recently to allow Internet access at a reduced cost, a complete Internet solution without the cost of purchasing a PC.
3Com is such a company that has released a system called Audrey. Audrey has been designed no only to be a cost-effective solution, but also an easy to use appliance suited towards the home family. It has been designed with a futuristic look of many of the sci-fi television shows suited for family use of the new millennium.
As good as Audrey sounds, there are still many limitations that are discussed throughout the article including email problems and the small keyboard that has been provided with the unit. Advantages include its use of any Internet service dial-up provider along with the ability to use cable modems and networks. It is apparent that Audrey is in the early stages and there are still many teething problems that need to be ironed out, but once these issues have been resolved, 3Com hope that Audrey could become an essential home appliance of the 21st century.
I have had no experience using an Internet device such as the Audrey. The only way I have ever accessed the Internet has been through a PC of some type. However I have used palm top devices that allow Internet access along with the many personal organizer features, but these are not as similar to desktop appliances such as Audrey.
I believe that given time, the Audrey could be a successful appliance that could become a known name within the household. However, it is also necessary to consider that the Audrey is in a market with many other similar appliances such as Interactive TV, that are already becoming popular for home use. If 3Com want this new product to succeed they will need to work fast at remedying all the problems associated with it. Also I do not know if people will buy into the futuristic look of this appliance or pass it off as looking cheap!