Hey, remember when companies thought they could make scads of money selling $500 Internet appliances? The fad, which peaked in the year 2000, lasted about as long as pet rocks. The devices may have been cool, but the market response to them was even cooler.
QNX provided the OS and windowing system for a number of Internet appliances, including the 3Com Audrey, perhaps the most sophisticated Internet appliance ever built. The Audrey lasted only 7 months before being pulled from the shelves, but subsequently became a popular platform among hardware hackers.
Other QNX-based appliances included the iOpener:
The SurfTV device from France:
The HomePilot iAppliance/home automation device from Norway:
An Internet-enabled TV from Loewe in Germany:
And let’s not forget NatSemi’s WebPad reference platform — think of it as the great, great grandaddy of today's tablet computers:
QNX gets a Jolt
To target this market, QNX introduced the QNX Internet Appliance Toolkit, which came complete with a customizable web browser, email client, Internet dialer, personal information manager, and other goodies. In 1997, the kit won a Jolt productivity award.
p.s. 3com named the Audrey in honor of Audrey Hepburn. The connection, however, eludes me. Does anyone know why 3com decided to name the device after her?