A new class of products – called information appliances – is being developed to cater for users who are unfamiliar with computers or who are generally intimidated by the technology.
These devices are deliberately designed to simplify each task by offering a limited number of functions.
For example, Cisco has launched the MailStation – a two-pound device consisting of a keyboard and small adjustable screen – which can send and receive e-mails, but cannot surf the Web. It can be plugged into any phone line, and has a second phone jack for a telephone. The MailStation can receive lengthy messages with attachments, but cannot deliver messages longer than 1,000 words or attached files or pictures.
InfoGear is developing another information appliance – a screen phone with full Internet capability and e-mail, in addition to phone capability.
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