Information appliance


Information appliance

An information appliance (IA) is an appliance specializing in information, a personal device designed to perform a specific activity, such as playing music, photography, or editing text, in a simple and user-friendly way. [Cite book | author=Pirhonen, A.; Isomäki, H.; Roast, C.; Saariluoma, Pertti | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Future Interaction Design | date= | publisher=Springer | location= | isbn=1-85233-791-5 | pages=pp. 129 | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=vzaBpX9JVu0C&pg=PA129&dq=computer+IT+appliance+date:1970-2005&lr=&num=100&as_brr=3&sig=1jKI4yt3p1Pp-agVS_o6motyx7w#PPA129,M1 | accessdate=2008-05-06 ] [Cite book | author=Benyon, David; Turner, Phil; Turner, Susan | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Designing Interactive Systems: People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies | date= | publisher=Addison Wesley Publishing Company | location= | isbn=0-321-11629-1 | pages=pp. 18 | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=iWe7VkFW0zMC&pg=PA18&dq=Weiser+appliance+date:2003-2009&lr=&num=100&as_brr=3&sig=ACni7PiLgT8RBhJsyH1YgZkFm-M#PPA18,M1 | accessdate=2008-05-06 ] Typical examples are smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Information appliances partially overlap in definition with, or are sometimes referred to as, smart devices, embedded systems, mobile devices, wireless devices, or handheld devices.

Appliance vs computer

The term "information appliance" was coined by Jef Raskin around 1979. [Cite book | author=Bergman, Eric | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Information Appliances and Beyond (Interactive Technologies) | date= | publisher=Morgan Kaufmann | location= | isbn=1-55860-600-9 | pages=pp. 2-3 | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=wtPlin2FNXMC&printsec=frontcover#PPA3,M1 | accessdate=2008-05-06 ] [Cite book | author=Allan, Roy | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=A history of the personal computer: the people and the technology | date=2001 | publisher=Allan Pub. | location=London, Ont. | isbn=0-9689108-0-7 | pages=pp. 49 | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=FLabRYnGrOcC&pg=PA12&dq=computing+IT+appliance+date:1970-2005&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1&sig=1Blpya3Kinpo1kHOvWSNIJAF2T4#PPA49,M1 | accessdate=2008-05-06 ] As later explained by a influential Donald Norman's "The Invisible Computer", [Cite book | author=Norman, Donald A. | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=The invisible computer: why good products can fail, the personal computer is so complex, and information appliances are the solution | date=1998 | publisher=MIT Press | location=Cambridge, Mass. | isbn=0-262-64041-4 | pages= | url=http://isbndb.com/d/book/the_invisible_computer_a01.html ] the main characteristics of IA, as opposed to any normal computer, were:
* designed and pre-configured for a single application (like a toaster appliance, which is designed only to make toasts),
* so easy to use for untrained people, that it effectively becomes unnoticeable, "invisible" to them,
* able to automatically share information with any other IAs.

This definition of IA was different from today's. Jef Raskin initially tried to include such features in the Apple Macintosh, which he designed, but eventually the project went quite different way. For a short while during the mid- and late 1980s, there were a few models of simple electronic typewriters with screens and some form of memory storage. These dedicated word processor machines had some of the attributes of an information appliance, and Raskin designed one of them, the Canon Cat. He described some properties of his definition of information appliance in his book "The Humane Interface".

Larry Ellison, Oracle Corporation CEO, predicted that information appliances and network computers would supersede personal computers (PCs) [Cite book | author=Walters, E. Garrison | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=The essential guide to computing | date=2001 | publisher=Prentice Hall PTR | location=Upper Saddle River, NJ | isbn=0-13-019469-7 | pages=pp. 13 | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=AwrQsOW5SsQC&pg=PA398&dq=information+network+desktop+computer+IT+appliance+date:1970-2005&lr=&num=100&as_brr=0&sig=qXs4I4h6ZEKVisWrGwM81r6m1ig#PPA398,M1 | accessdate=2008-05-06 ] . This prediction has not yet come true.

Walled gardens versus open standards

In an ideal world, any true information appliance would be able to communicate with any other information appliance using open standard protocols and technologies, regardless of the maker of the software or the hardware. The communications aspects and all user interface elements would be designed together so that a user could switch seamlessly from one information appliance to another.

Some vendors are attempting to create "walled gardens" of closed proprietary content for information appliances, leveraging existing proprietary technologies. However, with the exception of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode, these efforts have been less successful than predicted, due to the willingness of most vendors to work together within open standards frameworks, and the pre-existing widespread adoption of open standards such as GSM, IP, SMS and SMTP.

References

See also

* Computer appliance
* Internet appliance
* Embedded system
* Ubiquitous computing
* Archy
* Mobile web

External links

* [http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/NOTE-compactHTML-19980209/ Compact HTML for Small Information Appliances — W3C NOTE 09-Feb-1998]
* [http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/384/eustice.html IBM:A universal information appliance ]
* [http://iphone-msn.com MSN messenger for iPhone ]


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