It's no secret the Internet is the hottest computer industry development around. But what's the biggest trend in this arena right now? The range of new technology that's springing up to make Internet access cheaper and easier than ever before.
At press time, major manufacturers, including IBM and Sun Microsystems, were working on their long-awaited "Internet PCs"-PCs without disk drives or monitors that are used with TV sets solely to access the Internet. These machines, expected to sell for about $500, should be on the market by the time you read this.
But they are not your only option; several other choices are already available, including inexpensive, scaled-down computers and set-top boxes that work with televisions and phone lines. You don't need to be tech-savvy-or have a lot of money-to purchase and use these products, which are opening the Internet to a wider range of users.
Some of these products are on the market today, and many more vendors have announced they'll be coming out with similar products in the coming year. Here's a look at some of the latest.