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Gateway shows off shiny silver AOL Net appliance

It's bitchin' for kitchens

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Gateway today unveils a shiny silver Net appliance along the lines of 3Com's Audrey or Amstrad's em@iler.

Called the Connected Touch Pad, Gateway seems to have cocked-up on the snappy-name front, but the machine looks space age enough and offers up the usual easy online access carrot to home users.

The sleek machine, which uses AOL as its ISP and offers the Instant AOL service, comes with 10.4-inch touchscreen LCD screen and wireless keyboard. Gateway is hoping punters will buy it as a second Internet station for the home, and that it will be trendy (and un-PC looking) enough to sit in the kitchen, living room, etc.

It is based on Transmeta's Crusoe chip, and comes with Netscape's Gecko browsing engine and the Mobile Linux operating system.

Gateway is just one of many vendors keen to cash in on the Web appliance market. Compaq has just announced its second hybrid iPaq with Microsoft's MSN, while last month 3Com unveiled Audrey - which can run on any ISP.

Last year Amstrad introduced its emailer, which did not offer full Net access but was designed for cyber luddites keen to start sending and receiving emails.

"A lot of families keep their PC in a bedroom or study, but spend most of their time in the kitchen and family room," said Barry Schuler, president of AOL interactive services.

Gateway will offer demos of the device, priced at $599, in its shops from next week, but won't start taking orders until December 1 for December 15 shipping.

To view the machine, click here. ®

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