It is very difficult to have totally original ideas on the internet. iPad was released around the same time I was changing apartments once more. And during the move I came across my broadband connected tablet like browsing device from the dot com bust era. I am talking about the 3 Com Audrey I bought during 2001 for $99 after a friend from S’Pore called that it is available on tigerdirect. I loved it during those lean times. So the release of iPad brought back all those memories. While these thoughts were circling in my mind, kind folks on the interwebs have already written a post I wanted to write :D. Here is one snippet from that post

Audrey is/was a $500.00 USD “Internet appliance” released by 3Com in 2000 that ran QNX – a popular embedded *nix-like OS. You could surf the web, listen to music and e-mail folks (plus run a few other apps that came with it). It had a touchscreen (tho, you needed a stylus) with a virtual keyboard, but you could also use a wireless keyboard. My setup is a bit worse for the wear, but she still works:

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

The device failed because it was too expensive and just a bit ahead of it’s time (you have to remember, the Internet was a different place back then, with the intended, primary means of connecting the Audrey being dial-up). I believe it also failed because there was no good way to develop for it, thus snubbing early adopters who might have been able to get 3Com over the 1st gen hump and provide it a stream of cool apps to make it worth the money for the general public.

On the internet nothing ever dies. There is still the audreyhacking site live. I might just use audrey for few days for the retro feel.