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3Com Audrey Net appliance to debut Tuesday

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3Com's first Internet appliance, Audrey, will finally be launched next week after a month's delay, according to company sources sited by CNet.

The etch-a-sketch style Web pad was announced earlier this year, and described by former 3Com CEO Eric Benhamou as the device that would out-Palm Palm.

Audrey was due to arrive early September, but the launch was held back. However, 3Com mistakenly posted Audrey's promotional Web site, along with the portal aimed at the appliance's users, onto a live link late last month, allowing the world a brief glimpse at the device.

Available in a range of colours, Audrey will sport a 6.25in x 4.75in touch-sensitive screen, plus a TV tuner knob-style control that calls up various pre-programmed Web-based channels. The device is designed to be held like a tablet computer, or to stand on a desktop like an LCD monitor.

It contains a built-in 56kbps modem, speakers and microphone; serial and USB ports; and a wireless keyboard. It can be used as a back-up and synchronisation system for Palm-based devices - Audrey itself runs a mix of the PalmOS and QNX's real-time Neutrino OS. ®

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