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Sony kills off eVilla Net appliance

Nothing to do with Palm's Be buyout, apparently

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Sony has effectively canned its eVilla Internet appliance but it denies the move is anything to do with Palm's acquisition of Be, the OS developer that built eVilla's system software.

Instead, it puts the decision down to issues of "stability and usability", which puzzles us given these are both Be USPs. "The product did not meet our expectations. It did not operate as planned," said a Sony spokesman, cited by CNET.

Didn't sell as planned, more like. At least, that's our guess, given the lack of success other Net appliance vendors have had. We have to confess to a certain smug satisfaction at the news. We were always highly sceptical about all those analyst claims that the information appliance would be the next BIG THING. Maybe one day it will, but not just yet.

Then there's the Palm deal, for all the consumer electronics giant's protestations to the contrary. Sony has a good working relationship with Palm, so it's not the acquisition per se that must have bothered it. No, it's more likely the fact that isn't going to maintain the code.

Sony will officially kill eVilla on 13 September. In the meantime, it will refund eVilla buyers the cost of their Internet access package and the $499 they spent on the hardware. Rather decent, that, but since eVilla has been shipping for under two months perhaps the very least Sony could do.

More opportunistic eVilla owners are probably even now foregoing their refunds in the hope of more lucrative results auctioning their now limited-edition appliances on eBay... ®

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