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Compaq Continues Internet Appliance Push

Techstination feature for Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Is there really a market for Internet appliances? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. 3Com gave up on Audrey. The I-opener now has its eyes shut. But Compaq Computer is re-launching its iPaq line of Internet appliances. Compaq's director of inter-connected products Jim Ganthier...

"We are now offering six months free on the product. We've actually lowered the price of the product. They are effectively at 399 and 299 without a long term commit. We've actually listened to our customers and have added additional functionality to the product, such as making them broadband enabled, making them network enabled, better messaging, better chat and other simplistic, easy to do things on the user interface."

Originally, Compaq believed it would sell mostly to people who were new to computers... to get them started on email and the Web. But with sales falling flat... the focus now is shifting to multiple PC households... .who are ready to network. One of the big changes is ... the appliances will work with existing MSN accounts. It was crazy to think people would be willing to pay for a separate account for the device. The new features and access make the appliances more attractive... .but will consumers bite? Compaq cites two reasons for its renewed commitment...

"Broadband is accelerating at a rate much faster than anyone anticipated. Two..networking is finally coming to fruition"

The bet is... a cheap, fast always on access point to the Net at home will sell. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.