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3Com - Audrey
Family-Friendly Internet Appliance
by Stephen Jones (November 20, 2000)


The word "information appliance" has been overused lately but 3Com just introduced a device worthy of the name. Audrey is a comfortable, tablet sized device designed to be as obtrusive as a toaster (only a bit more stylish).

Like a toaster, it comes on instantly, connects to services you already own, and serves up tasty slices of bread-and-butter functionality to the whole family, including a shared calendar, address book, and "channels" of Internet content.

Unlike other such offerings, Audrey can use your existing ISP and e-mail address, using its internal 56K modem or an optional DSL/cable-modem adapter. And, you are not limited to browsing watered-down "web clippings" but can browse the entire Web and set up your own "channels" available to you at a turn of Audrey's channel selector knob.

Another real convenience is Audrey's ability to accept a variety of input. You can compose e-mail or jot notes in the calendar using the included pen stylus, or record voice notes, or (if you prefer) type on its infrared keyboard.

All these features add up to a device that could easily inspire casual connectivity that the whole family will share and take for granted.


- $499
- Use existing ISP, e-mail address
- E-mail, web browser
- Web browser w/ channel selector
- Shared family calendar, address book
- Synchronize w/ up two Palm PDAs
- Instant-on
- Stylus for drawings and hand-written message
- Infrared keyboard
- Voice recording for message, e-mail
- RealAudio
- Stereo speakers
- 56K modem (cable/DSL requires Ethernet adapter)
- Automatic software updates via Web
- Five colors: ocean, meadow, sunshine, linen and slate
- Two USB ports (for printing)

Copyright 2006 Stephen Jones All rights reserved.

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