After surfing this board as a 'lurker' I thought you may be interested to know of my experience as an i-opener subscriber...
We wanted to surf the Net, but couldn't shell out the $$$ for a PC, so the $99 intro price for the i-opener sounded like a good deal to us. We bought it right before the promo ended, directly from Netpliance, around the end of May.
We cancelled our service about a month ago and sold it on e-bay for $180 and here's why.
First off, it is VERY slow...especially when there are frames. Sometimes it would take five minutes to download a page, even on Amazon.com which is usually the quickest to download. The e-mail service was less than spectacular. When we called for service, it would take forever to get someone.
Even though the owner's manual said that i-opener would support .jpg and .gif attachments sent to us, it would not open them (or for that matter, .pif or Adobe Acrobat files).
And the "pizza" key, which they made such a fuss over, went to Papa John's which is not in our area (San Francisco peninsula). We didn't buy it for the pizza key but still...you think they would have modified it...
By the end of the time we had it, I would estimate a good 25-30% of the websites we would try to view would not come up, we would get that screen that "This website uses a technology which i-opener does not support...we are working on this and hope to get it in the near future" or words to that effect.
In August, I went to work for another company and got like a month's worth of accrued vacation pay, part of which I utilized in getting us a REAL PC with Pentium III and all that jazz.
We now have Cable Internet which is not costing us anything right now, until 2001 when it will cost $39 for much MUCH faster service, e-mail, webpage, etc. A better deal than $21 for slow service.
I thought about giving Mom and Dad the iopener but didn't want them to think that the Internet was normally this slow...(Mom just calls me anyway when she's looking for a book or video - then I order it for her from Amazon or half.com!) We may check on that new MSN internet appliance in the future for my parents -- I certainly hope it is more efficient that the i-opener...the internet appliance is a great idea but could have been done better IMHO.
Just wanted to let others know my thoughts. I'd be interested in seeing what you all have to say...