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Consumer interest in the Internet may be growing, but not quickly enough to sell the network of tomorrow today. One of the major factors impeding the incoming tide of users is the Internet's somewhat daunting learning curve.
The latest attempt to straighten that curve hasn't been to bring the Internet to users, but to bring users to the Internet. Recent efforts to consumerize Net usage include Lucent Technologies' Inferno multimedia OS, Spyglass' efforts to add web functionality to dumb, or not-so-smart devices and the recently announced Network Computer.
Enter the next consumer Net technology: the Java phone. Richardson, Texas-based Nortel (www.nortel.com) is working with Mountain View, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems (www.sun.com/sparc) to integrate Sun's popular Java programming language into its PowerTouch screen phones. The result: a non-PC that supports Java applets and can access various Net-based services and information.
"There's a whole host of people who don't want a PC," …