A Taxonomy of Internet Appliances
Author(s)Wroclawski, John; Gillett, Sharon Eisner; Lehr, William; Clark, David
The world is evolving from one in which almost all access to the Internet comes from personal computers (PCs) to one in which so-called Internet appliances (IAs) will make up a greater share of end-user equipment. Today's PC is a general-purpose, highly configurable and extensible device ? an "intelligent end-node" of the sort the Internet's designers had in mind. As such, it allows users much freedom of choice (such as which service provider to use, which Web sites to visit, and which new software to download) in exchange for dealing with associated complexity. An IA is a device connected to the Internet, but beyond that there is little consensus on functionality and target markets. There is, however, general agreement that it reduces the level of complexity seen by the user. A variety of approaches to reducing complexity are being pursued. These fall on a spectrum from totally fixing the function of devices, to automating the configuration of more general purpose systems. In the middle are devices whose functions appear more or less fixed to the user, but which retain some limited capability for upgrade through their Internet connection.