The Panasonic telephone allows users to send and receive email and faxes and even surf the Internet with a text-based browser. The initial Panasonic design includes a 3-by-2-inch screen and plug-in keyboard; future models might incorporate larger screens. Diba licensed the hardware reference design and application software to Panasonic.
The operating environment is a real-time, multithreaded operating system that was built specifically to support information appliances. Diba has already licensed its technology to Zenith for use in an Internet TV application, but "information appliances are more than just Internet TVs," according to Joe Gillach, a spokesman for Diba.
Proxima also announced today that they would be incorporating Internet and intranet access into a multimedia projector using Diba technology.
"These announcements [with Panasonic and Proxima] really illustrate the fact that information appliances, just like other appliances, will come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, functions, and price points. Internet television is just one of many, many appliances that people will bring to the market starting in 1997," Gillach said.