Bob Cringely wrote an interesting article about the need for internet appliances such as 3Com’s Audrey to provide internet access for the slow adopters and laggards. internet appliance were orginally muted as an idea by Larry Ellison of Oracle as part of his network computing vision.They failed because of the topsy turvy economics that have driven PC growth, though one could argue that the iMac incorporate the spirit if not the technical specification of an internet appliance. Bob’s discussion reminded me of the small time I worked on 3Com.
I got put on the Palm pan European PR account when the company had been spun out from 3Com and Audrey was on the horizon, my predecessor worked on Palm as part of the 3Com portfolio. Part of the reasons discussed internally for this was that Audrey had the potential to eat Palm’s lunch. Indeed Palm went on to buy Be Systems, who provided the software and expertise behind Sony’s eVilla internet appliance. Now PalmOne has different things to worry about, like how to stop Microsoft’s kamikaze antics in the handheld and mobile space. It is interesting that PalmSource has had to go and purchase a mobile Linux company due to client demand.