# it-e-04 information appliance

An "information appliance (IA)" is any device that can process information, signals,
graphics, animation, video and audio; and can exchange such information with another IA device.
Typical devices could be smartphones, smartcard, PDAs, and so on. Digital cameras, ordinary
cellular phones, set-top boxes, and LCD TVs are not information appliances unless they become
capable of communications and information functions. Information appliances may overlap in
definition or are sometimes referred to as smart devices, mobile devices, wireless devices,
internet appliances, web appliances, handhelds, handheld devices or smart handheld devices.
Early Appliances For a short while during the middle and late 1980s there were a few
models of simple electronic typewriters fitted with screens and some form of memory storage.
These devices had some of the attributes of an information appliance. One of these dedicated
word processor machines, the Canon Cat was actually designed by Jef Raskin as the forerunner
of the idea of the information appliance.
Information appliances tend to be consumer devices that perform only a few targeted tasks
and are controlled by a simple touchscreen interface or push buttons on the device's enclosure.
Open Standard Protocols In an ideal world, any true information appliance would be able to communicate with any other information appliance using open standard protocols and
technologies, regardless of the maker of the software or the hardware. The communications
aspects and all user interface elements would be designed together so that a user could switch
seamlessly from one information appliance to another.

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