October 12, 2000 1:55 PM PDT

Audrey, 3Com's Net appliance, to make its entrance

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3Com's delayed Internet appliance, known as Audrey, will make its official debut Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.

Audrey, a countertop unit with an 8-inch touch screen, is designed to be the first in a family of Internet appliances dubbed Ergo. Audrey uses a combination of the QNX and Palm operating systems. It runs on National Semiconductor's Geode processor.

A 3Com representative was not immediately available for comment.

Audrey has had several cameos, including a brief, inadvertent appearance on 3Com's Web site. Audrey was originally due to take the stage last month, but its arrival was delayed shortly before a planned launch.

The $499 unit comes in colors such as slate, ocean, sunshine, meadow and linen, according to the no-longer posted Web site. Audrey is designed to synch with Palm handheld computers and also has a dial that can shuttle between preset Web sites.

According to the briefly posted Web site, Audrey owners can "scribble, record or type" their email on the unit, which comes with a built-in 56K modem, a wireless keyboard and a built-in microphone and speakers. Unlike devices from Microsoft and America Online, Audrey is designed to work with a variety of Internet service providers.


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