Of course, information appliances will fail to impress anyone if the key component--the information--isn't useful or readily available. In the coming months, Internet content providers like Yahoo! and others will focus on developing and formatting content for easy delivery to these devices. In addition to stock quotes and news feeds, much of the content services will focus on new ways to gather information personalized to your liking.
"Content providers will get into the game in a big way," Nordan predicts. "You can expect to see more personalized services, like contact management lists that don't just reside on [devices] but on Web portals. They'll be working on [delivering] nibbles of very personalized data to information appliances."
The partnership between Sun Microsystems, AOL and Netscape is also likely to impact the information appliances market. A new breed of Internet devices based on Sun's Java operating system and Netscape's interface that deliver AOL content and Internet access is expected to emerge as well. According to Nordan, "The whole purpose [of this strategy] is to make AOL stickier," meaning Web users will want to return to the site more often. "This could all be provided over the Web and delivered to any device you choose," he says.
In the near future, there will be more ways than ever to get the business and personalized data you need to stay informed, make key decisions and effectively run your business. Soon the key issue won't be what new, complicated technology you use. Rather, it'll be finding the devices that simply do what you want and fit easily into your lifestyle. "It'll be more like buying shoes or a jacket," Nordan says. "The main question you'll ask is, does it fit you?"
Forrester Research, (617) 497-7090, http://www.forrester.com