> Customers can use their own Internet Service Provider but will incur a monthly fee of
> $14.95 in addition to the cost of their Internet access (may not be compatible with all Internet Service Providers
> that do not support PAP or CHAP and online services such as AOL & Prodigy).
How is this enforced? Do they make you sign a contract when you buy it, like cell phones have and Netpliance should have (should have from a business model standpoint, not that I'm complaining.)
Or, do they "hard code" the machines to only pass email through their mail server and web traffic through their system (like a proxy), but allow you to get carrier from any ISP. If that's the case, I say slap a drive in there and hack right around it. (Or re-write the operative section of the disk-on-chip.)
I'm asking for a buddy of mine who has been drooling over my IOpener, and crying because he can't find one.
Seriously, these could make great little corporate workstations. Look at what Star Office is doing with providing office apps via an intranet. For around $400 (unit, monitor, USB or PCI NIC) you could slap one of these things down on the receptionist's (or other low-need user's) desk, run a browser (or XWindows for non-webified apps) over the net (see Linux Terminal Server Project) and be rocking and rolling.
A talk about low support needs: No floppy or CD-Rom (Susie can't load up the "neato screensaver" that she got from her sister on AOL and toast the OS.), no hard drive to crash, only 1 moving part (the fan). With no local storage option, the users are forced to save their files to the server. (I never could understand users that would refuse to save their files to the server where they would be held on RAIDed drives and backed up every night, for fear that they would not be available during the average of 5 minutes each month that the server might be down.)
And while you're at it, slap a zip drive on one and hook it up to the big TV in the conference room for presentations using Star Office's "Power-Point" type app.
I like Hardware1's idea of using one for an MP3 deck with output to the TV for menus, playlists, etc. With a little software tweaking, you could also have it run a "slide-show" when not in menus or the play-list. Great for parties, never have to change a CD, and have funky pictures cycle on the screen.
What the PC industry really needs an easy MPEG Video encoder/decoder card and software so we can use our PC's like a Tivo or Replay TV (hard-drive based VCR). Add a CD burner and you can take last night's TV show to work with you. (Yes, I know a CD wouldn't get much, but crank down the frame rate a bit, and make the window only a quarter of the screen, and maybe you could get an hour or so on a disc.) I'm just waiting for a decent low-cost DVD burner.
This box might just be an "OK" foundation for something like that.
Anyone else have any ideas?