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Firms hope Internet appliances pay off
Imagine someone wants to sell you a combination radio, filing cabinet, mailbox and TV. These four items come stuck together in such a way that you could only use one at a time. Regardless of the price, is this a good deal?
Those in the business of making Internet appliances hope you'll eventually see the traditional PC as just such an unwieldy chimera and pay for Internet-connected devices that are smaller, simpler, cheaper and more specialized. The, term "Internet appliance" is still evolving, but most agree it refers to a device designed to do just one or two Internet functions well. One might send and receive e-mail; another might allow you to browse the Web; and another might deliver streaming media to your entertainment center.
According to IDC, an IT-industry analyst firm in Framingham, Mass., U.S. consumer Internet appliance sales will outstrip U.S. consumer personal computer sales in 2002. That's a temptingly large pie, and some companies are reaching for their slice.
"You can make toast in a …