|[4:30 PM] iTeen Internet World Report: iOpener Internet Appliance Looks Great
by Chris Rogers & Brandon Drezner
A new company called iOpener has released it's connected internet appliances. They are small desktop computers based on their own operating system that are able to go onto the internet, fetch E-Mail, and even print.
iOpener has counter top boxes that come bundled with 56k modems for connecting to their service. These boxes have 10 inch dual scan displays (which in our opinion could be upgraded), built in processors and some other stuff the company didn't get specific on. They are not currently working with cable modems or DSL but the iOpener rep said that soon they will be.
Demoing the Unit:
We were very impressed by the iOpener "portal" system. It responded quickly, didn't crash, and did exactly what we wanted it to when we wanted it to. It was a very very simple system to operate. One feature we really liked was it's compactness. It takes up less space than our iBooks. It stands roughly a foot wide by a foot tall. It's depth is only about 6 inches and has an adjustable monitor.
This is the great part about these devices. They are only US$99 each. For those of you who don't have a computer of your own, or don't want a computer of your own but want the Internet and mail, you're in luck. Simply use your own phone line, buy the portal, attach the separate US$20.00 keyboard and mouse and in five minutes you will be done.
One thing that we liked about the iOpener systems were it's Internet filtering capabilities. These boxes have the power of SurfWatch. (For those of you who don't know what SurfWatch is, check out their Web site) For parents who know their kids need a way to get information but are afraid of computers or afraid that they'll be on for other reasons, this will set your minds at ease.
The Low Down:
This is definitely a good purchase for those who need something similar to a computer but are intimidated by them. One thing that would be nice to see are small applications built in, similar to the Palm handheld computers. It would be nice to see a calendar, a phone list, a to-do list and a memo pad for quick notes or even school or research papers. It's great to have a internet machine but without anything to do with the information (Besides print it) it's really only a surfing machine. We think it's a great idea though it could be improved on some features. That said, the US$99 price may not make that possible, but a higher priced device could.
The iTeens are prowling Internet World Expo 2000 and reporting on those things that interest Mac users and iTeens. Check out their column called iTeen Online.