Internet appliance

Internet appliance

An Internet appliance is a consumer device whose main function is easy access to Internet services such as WWW or e-mail. The term was popularized in the 1980s and 1990s, when it somewhat overlapped in meaning with an information appliance, Internet computer, network computer, or even thin client, but now it has fallen out of general use. Modern smart phones, PDAs, handhelds, are generally not classified as Internet appliances.

Internet appliance was contrasted with any general-purpose computer. The basic design idea behind Internet appliance is that it can be made cheaper and much more usable by narrowing its functionality and limiting available configuration options.


The first appliances to be marketed successfully gave constant information on the weather or on the state of the stock market, by means of changes in colors or by using analog gauges. Internet appliances were promoted by a variety of technology companies during the 1980s and 1990s but, as the price of full-featured computers dropped, never met the market expectations. Jim Louderback would later describe the concept as one of the "eight biggest tech flops ever".

An Internet tablet is a type of a mobile Internet appliance. The most famous (or infamous) examples of the Internet tablets are the Sony Airboard and Nokia's Internet Tablet series (including the recently unveiled Nokia N810).

Nowadays, also a new breed of household devices, such as Vonage Internet Phones, PenguinRadio's Internet radio, and IPTV boxes, are starting to use the broadband connections in PC-independent ways.

Notable devices



See also


External links

  • Community Page pertaining to getting Linux to run on older Internet Appliances

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