I agree with friar. I listened to the broadcast and was struck by the fact that while they acknowledged some competition, they still seemed to think that they could dominate the older novice market. They also commented that the average income of their customers has gone up since they raised the price. While I am sure the latter is true, such customers might well think twice when they are confronted with choices. They seemed to discount a number of the new web applicances as either aimed at the educational market or intended for people who already "own a monitor". As broadband is rolled out by more and more cable companies and netpliance remains dial-up, I bet a lot of the more affluent novices would go for a package that connects to cable -- especially if the cable companies offered a web appliance that is installed at the same time as the cable modem!
After listening to the broadcast, I now doubt that Netpliance actually changed the audio chip of the I/O for a short production run designed to fill existing CC and CPUSA "hacker" orders. It seems more likely they came up with the V5 for one or more of the following reasons:
1. They planned to keep the price at $99 and really did want to discourage hacking.
2. They found that the audio new chip is cheaper and switched to it reduce costs. Since the motherboard is already designed to accept it, this may well have been part of a long-range plan.
3. The V5 is really the unit to be included in the I-Opener 2001 "experience" and they used early runs of it with the old packaging to fill existing orders.
In any event, there are lots of I/O's out there already to be hacked. Also, look for holiday sales on the new one!