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=,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=,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=,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=,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= ] 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=,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.


See also

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

External links

* [ Compact HTML for Small Information Appliances — W3C NOTE 09-Feb-1998]
* [ IBM:A universal information appliance ]
* [ MSN messenger for iPhone ]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Appliance efficiency standards —   The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 established minimum efficiency standards for major home appliances, including furnaces, central and room air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, dishwashers, and heat… …   Energy terms

  • Appliance UTM FAST360 — Une appliance UTM FAST360, solution éditée par la société Arkoon Network Security, est un boitier multifonctions pour la protection des systèmes d information des entreprises. Ces appliances intègrent des services de sécurité (firewall applicatif …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Appliance —   A device for converting one form of energy or fuel into useful energy or work.   ***   A piece of equipment, commonly powered by electricity, used to perform a particular energy driven function. Examples of common appliances are refrigerators,… …   Energy terms

  • Appliance efficiency index —   A relative comparison of trends in new model efficiencies for major appliances and energy using equipment. The base year for relative comparisons was 1972(1972=100). Efficiencies for each year were efficiencies of different model types that… …   Energy terms

  • Works Everywhere Appliance — Information appliance title = Works Everywhere Appliance connectivity = 4x USB 2.0 ports 100baseT ethernet VGA output operatingsystem = Ubuntu (Linux) input = Microphone power = 12V DC IN cpu = AMD Geode LX 800 memory = Up to 1 GiB RAM media = 1x …   Wikipedia

  • Internet appliance — Not to be confused with information appliance or computer appliance. An Internet appliance is a consumer device whose main function is easy access to Internet services such as WWW or e mail.[1] The term was popularized in the 1990s, when it… …   Wikipedia

  • Computer appliance — A computer appliance is generally a separate and discrete hardware device with integrated software (firmware), specifically designed to provide a specific computing resource. These devices became known as appliances because of their similarity to …   Wikipedia

  • Portable appliance testing — For other uses, see PAT (disambiguation). A common label for certifying that a device has been tested. Portable appliance testing (commonly known as PAT or PAT Inspection or PAT Testing) is a process in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and… …   Wikipedia

  • National Appliance Energy Conservation Act — The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act is a 1975 piece of legislation by the United States Congress which regulates energy consumption of specific household appliances in the United States. Though minimum Energy Efficiency Standards were… …   Wikipedia

  • Major appliance — A side by side refrigerator A major appliance, or domestic appliance, is usually defined as a large machine which accomplishes some routine housekeeping task, which includes purposes such as cooking, or food preservation, whether in a household,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”