Tech Smarts

Keep It Simple

In a marketplace where computers are becoming increasingly powerful and performing more and more functions, some people in the computer industry have a different vision: machines that are much simpler and designed for single functions.

Ben Shneiderman, head of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland in College Park and professor of computer science there, envisions a future device he likes to call a "webtop." The machine, which would be specially designed to support browsing on the World Wide Web, would consist of a high-resolution color screen with a touch-screen keyboard and high-speed Internet connection-and could sell for just $100 to $200.

"Our goal is to enable the largest number of people to have the best possible access to the growing information resources on the World Wide Web," explains Shneiderman.

Are products like these a step backward or an innovative way to bring consumers more of what they really need? You make the call.

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This article was originally published in the February 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Tech Smarts.

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