Ahead of Its Time Tech

Pepper Pad

Year: 2004

What It Was: A $799 Linux-based internet pad with a 7-inch (800 x 480) display and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity that allowed users to surf the web, stream Internet radio, and instant message.

Why It Failed: Poor design and price. Not only was the Pepper Pad extremely unwieldy at 11.4 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches, but it featured a clunky split QWERTY keyboard design that positioned the letters and numbers both to the left and right of the screen. Plus, at just shy of $800, it rivaled the cost of more powerful full-sized notebooks.

Why It Was Important: The Pepper Pad was the predecessor to the UMPC (ultra-mobile PC), which was in turn succeeded by the MID (mobile Internet device) category and a new crop of slate tablets. Although the Pepper Pad primarily tanked due to poor design, its descendents (such as the Apple iPad and upcoming Dell tablet) feature far more portable and intuitive designs that will sport lower price tags.

Current Chance of Technology’s Success: Uncertain. MIDs, like the Pepper Pad, are tweener devices, which may cause them to be overlooked.

“How much room is there in the market for a device between the smart phone and the laptop?” asked NPD Group’s Rubin. “The MID and tablet have to go up against devices such as smart phones, which are always with a person, and laptops, which are slightly bigger but offer more power.”

Ahead of Its Time Tech Contents

1. :CueCat
Gemstar Rocket eBook
HP Jornada 820
Ojo Personal Video Phone
5. Pepper Pad
6. Sharp Actius RD3D

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