Obit: Sony's eVilla appliance has died

Sony's eVilla Internet appliance met with a quick demise Thursday as the company announced it will no longer sell the product and that customers who already purchased the device will receive full refunds.

Sony launched the eVilla product in early July, providing users with a sleek device for accessing e-mail, news reports and online shopping sites, as well as downloading multimedia content such as video clips and streams from Internet radio stations. The product cost US$499 and ran now defunct Be's BeIA operating system.

Neither the hardware nor the software lived up to Sony's expectations, prompting the company to pull its product.

"After we did careful consideration on the product, it fell short of our initial expectations with regard to stability and usability," said John Dolak, a Sony spokesman. "The network demands placed on the operating system created an unacceptable level of system disruptions."

The company does not have any more Internet appliance products in the works at this time, although it is selling a similar type of device called the Airboard, which gives users a portable, wirelessly connected screen for accessing the Internet at home.

Sony has asked retailers to pull the eVilla devices from their shelves and will offer customers full refunds for the device and services purchased to help support it.

Users who purchased the device can call +1--888-476-6988 for more information.

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Ashlee Vance

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