What it was: A $499 stylus-driven, dial-up Internet appliance intended for women, part of a never-to-be “Ergo” line of devices. Like today’s BlackBerry PlayBook, it ran the QNX operating system.
Announced: October 17th, 2000.
What they said when it was new: “We want to deliver an enjoyable Internet experience in the nerve center of the home. In most homes, that’s the kitchen.”
Died: March 21st, 2001.
What they said when they killed it: “While we believe in the potential of the category, it’s clear that it will take longer to develop than originally planned and likely to generate losses for the foreseeable future.”
Why it really failed: I suppose you could argue that Audrey was a decade ahead of its time—people use the iPad in ways similar to those envisioned by Audrey’s inventors. But in 2000, people—be they female or otherwise—didn’t want minimalist dumbed-down devices. They wanted PCs.
Was it a tragedy it bit the big one? No, not at all.
The aftermath: 3Com supposedly had a secret refund program. But unlike eVilla maker Sony, it left most Audrey buyers twisting in the wind.
Next Palm Foleo (2007)