This article was about a new kind of devices referred to as “Internet Appliances”. These devices look like small PCs but they only come with the online essentials: a screen, a keyboard, a modem, and a browser (no hard disk or floppy drive). These devices are directed at consumers who are interested in only using the Internet.
Three devices were tested and described: Microsoft Network Companions from Compaq and Vestel, and the New Internet Computer (NIC).
The two Microsoft Network units were very similar in design. They both have an embedded mouse and keyboards with short cut keys. A bad point of these machines is that they only function with Microsoft Network as the Internet service provider, which can result in a large amount of money as an overall investment.
As far as price is concerned, the Vestel unit did not have a set price at the time of publication while the Compaq retails at $599.00. Up to $400.00 of that amount is available for Microsoft Network rebate. The rebate amount varies with the length of the contract. Overall both machines should be sufficient for first time Internet users.
The third device, “The New Internet Computer” (NIC) is the opposite of the Microsoft network machines. NIC is the most computer-like of the three appliances. Included with the device is a small vertical case, two stand-alone speakers, a tabletop mouse with a mouse pad, and a full size keyboard without shortcut buttons.
The price for the NIC is a modest $200.00 plus $130.00 for the 15” monitor. NetZero is one of the unit’s default Internet service provider options. This is a nice option because you won’t have to pay a monthly fee for Internet service.
From the information given in the article the NIC seems to be the most reasonable of the three. For beginners the cheapest of the three makes the most sense.
Olafson, Peter. “Are PCs Toast? Internet Appliances Have Arrived.”
PC World, November 2000: 70