Devices like the Audrey and Netpliance I-opener lived a short life, but paved the way for modern-day Net gadgets like the Kindle, iPad, and Xbox 360.
Internet service provider EarthLink will sell an I-opener Internet appliance and service in the first quarter of next year. Austin, Texas-based Netpliance created the I-opener but recently shifted gears in the face of sluggish sales. In the future, Netpliance will license its products to larger companies such as EarthLink and make money by managing the service on its clients' behalf. EarthLink will sell the I-opener for $299 with a monthly charge of $21.95 for unlimited Internet access.
The company changes its pricing strategy yet again, this time shaving $100 off the $399 price it had hoped to charge for its Internet appliance.
Consumers who purchase the new Web-browsing units now won't receive the shipment until October.
The Internet appliance pioneer says its long-term prospects remain strong, but a recent decision to quadruple the price of its I-opener Internet appliance raises doubts.
Netpliance, the one-time maker of the i-Opener Internet appliance, said in a statement released Friday that during the first three months of the year it lost $3.3 million, or 5 cents a share, excluding results from the now-exited appliance business. Its loss from that business, which Netpliance classifies as discontinued operations, was $3.7 million, or 10 cents per share, for three months ended March 31. The Austin, Texas-based company reiterated that it believes it has enough cash to fund its activities for at least the next 12 months, assuming no revenue and no additional funding. The company said it does not expect its new business, that of helping Internet service providers manage a network of Internet devices, to begin generating revenue until 2002. The company also said it now expects a $5.9 million net loss this year related to exiting the Net appliance business, compared with the $1 million net gain the company had previously expected, in part from a deal to sell its subscriber base to EarthLink.
Netpliance, the one-time maker of the I-opener Web-surfing appliance, has received notice from the Nasdaq that the company has failed to meet the stock market's requirements to remain listed. The Austin, Texas-based company has asked for a hearing on the matter. Netpliance shares have been trading below $1 since late last year. Its shares closed Thursday at 42 cents. The company said in a statement it believes "that the recent change in its business focus and its relatively strong financial condition, among other things, will lead to a recovery in the price of the company's common stock." However, Netpliance said it can give no assurances of such a rebound. Chief Financial Officer Kit Webster said Thursday in an interview that the company has not ruled out other options such as a reverse split.
Netpliance will transfer its I-opener subscribers to Internet service provider EarthLink, the companies said Wednesday. A struggling Internet appliance company, Netpliance will now focus all its resources on a broadband infrastructure strategy. In November, Austin, Texas-based Netpliance announced that it would stop building the I-opener itself. As part of the EarthLink transfer, I-opener subscribers will be assigned an EarthLink account and e-mail address. The companies expect the transition to be completed by mid-March.
The maker of the I-opener Internet application has selected Jabber for its instant messaging application services.
The maker of the I-opener Internet appliance reports that it increased sales in the second quarter, although it also warned that third-quarter growth could slow.