This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Killer Demo 2000
Feb 08 2000 12:00 AM PST

The future will include a lot of Net-enabled picture frames, if one is to believe a display in Indian Wells, Calif.

The Demo conference is an annual toyfest, schmoozefest and chance to look into where the venture capitalists have been placing their bets. The media were out in force as Demo kicked off yesterday, reporting respectfully - if not quite reverently - on a conference of legendary predictive power. As the San Jose Mercury News' Dan Gillmor reminded us, the PalmPilot was first shown in public at Demo four years ago.

Gillmor has turned in two columns on Demo so far. The first described mostly gadgets - "Internet appliances" of various descriptions. The device that caught Gillmor's fancy was a prototype handheld digital assistant that takes voice commands. Gillmor's second column focused on the flip side of network appliances: He studied the Net-centric services that feed them, including a free, Java-based office productivity package from ThinkFree.

CNET (CNET)'s Jim Davis took a closer look at one appliance prototype each from Be and Kerbango. (Great name, that last.) Be is best known for the PC operating system BeOS. The company showed BeIA, "Be for Internet appliances," running on a Compaq (CPQ) device that looked like a small version of Apple (AOIXQ)'s iBook. Compaq said the Web-browsing appliance would retail for around $200. Kerbango makes an AM/FM radio that also plugs into the Net, so it can access streaming audio from radio stations around the world.

MSNBC's Dow Jones story stressed the Net services on display at Demo, but remembered to mention the Net-enabled picture frame from Weave Innovations.

ZDNet's Interactive Week ran a preview of some of the Demoers as well as a detailed look at Marc Andreessen's LoudCloud startup. LoudCloud is developing a hosting service and Web applications framework that startups can rent on a pay-as-you-go basis. Who knows, maybe Marc will throw in a Net-enabled picture frame. - Keith Dawson

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