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Please pass the Salton Pepper, I need to check my email

Mar 23, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

A major kitchen appliance vendor will add a Linux-based tablet PC to its futuristic “connected home” product family. Salton, whose brands include George Foreman, Westinghouse, Toastmaster, Melitta, Russell Hobbs, Farberware, Ingraham, and Stiffel, will rebrand Pepper Computer's Pepper Pad for its “Beyond Connected Home” product… line.

The Pepper Pad first appeared in January of 2004, as a reference design (pictured at right) based on MontaVista Linux. The design was revised the following year, with a landscape-orientation display and other subtle changes, and the revised Pepper Pad 2 design (pictured above) then began shipping as a consumer product. Primarily positioned as an elaborate universal remote control device, it received mixed reviews.

Now, Salton has picked up the rights to market a new “Pepper Pad Plus” design as part of its Beyond Connected Home product line. The Beyond Connected Home line comprises “smart” appliances such as coffeemakers, breakmakers, and microwave ovens that can be controlled via WiFi or AC powerline networking from “control centers.”

Salton's “Beyond Connected Home” architecture

Salton's smart IceBox
(Click to enlarge)

Previously, Salton offered two Beyond Connected Home control center designs based on Windows CE, including the “IceBox” model pictured at right.

Pepper Computer CEO Len Kawell believes the Pepper Pad will add a versatile, convenient control interface to Salton's Beyond Connected Home system. “There's a huge opportunity for more of a kitchen counter or end table / night table device,” he said.

Kawell believes that the Pepper Pad represents more appropriate technology for casual home use than the Microsoft and Intel-promoted Origami / UMPC designs, which utilize full-blown laptop processors and Windows OSes. “These are appliances,” he said. “We think the Internet should be at your fingertips. We don't think everything you do requires a full PC.”

“Windows is still $90,” he adds.

Additionally, Kawell thinks the Pepper Pad design is easier to use than smaller, more mobile devices, such as connected PDAs and pocketable web tablets like the Nokia 770. “The Pepper Pad is a better form-factor for around the home,” he said. “It's easier to read and use, while still not trying to be a PC.”

Compared with the current Pepper Pad 2 design, the new Salton Pepper Pad Plus model has only incremental enhancements, Kawell said, such as UPnP (universal plug-and-play) support. It will be produced by Hanbit, an electronics design and manufacturing house in South Korea. Lots more details about the Pepper Pad can be found in our complete Device Profile, here.

Pepper Pad 2 wireless webpad
(Click to read full device profile)

Salton debuted its Beyond Connected Home product line at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas two years ago.

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