Microsofts iLoo is Flush with Greatness

Wireless Supersite Editor Ross Rubin treats MSN UK's announcement of a Wi-Fi-enabled toilet with all the seriousness it deserves by spotlighting some little-reported industry reaction.

Read the terrifying sequel -- iLoo II: This Time Its Porcelain

News that the UK division of MSN has developed a Wi-Fi-enabled toilet led to a string of follow-on announcements that came in quick reaction to the dynamic new computing environment.

Pumatech announced that it would soon be expanding its line of data synchronization utilities to the iLoo. A press release issued at the launch of the Web-based washroom noted that the company would first allow existing users to take full advantage of bathroom sync. In promoting Web services, the company noted that its bathroom sync should work especially well with SOAP.

Logitech, which markets the popular QuickCam line of Webcams, announced a new imaging device that it sees being popular above the sink in the iLoo. Dubbed the Multiuser Interactive Relational Reflective Optic Resource, the bathroom "MIRROR" will allow users to check their display against a visualization of what his or her appearance should be. Dell and EMC plan to integrate storage behind the MIRROR.

Essential Reality, makers of virtual reality data gloves, sees the iLoo as an opportunity to broaden its market beyond the gaming space. A company spokesperson noted, "Lets face it. Who in their right mind is going to touch the keyboard in a public bathroom?"

Symantec was also present to announce support for the new platform. "We believe the iLoo will unfortunately prove a fertile breeding ground for new kinds of potential viruses. Symantec is announcing it has partnered with the makers of Lysol products to introduce our first anti-viral utilities for the iLoo, as well as Plunger, our first back up utility for the new device."

Cisco Systems also recognized the unique networking demands that the iLoo will generate. "At Cisco, we understand the plumbing behind todays advanced computing platforms," said CEO John Chambers at the launch event. Cisco is pleased to release a new addition to our networking line today. The Roto Router will help iLoo users manage peak traffic times, such as 7:30 AM with two teenagers in the house.

Unfortunately, not all companies are lining up behind the American Standard of Microsofts septic sensation. Indeed, the threat of competitive specifications could set the IP-enabled device down the drain.

Oracle, for example, is planning to create an alternative that the database giant says will support more users. Larry Ellison noted that customers such as Weight Watchers, Inc. emphasized how important it was that the bathroom scale. PalmSource noted that, given its recent lawsuit defeat at the hands of Xerox, it would not be creating Graffiti in Microsofts bathroom.

Of course, longtime rival Sun Microsystems was quick to criticize Microsofts strategy. Scott McNealy said today, "We dont see the need to interface with every user through a dedicated bathroom appliance." McNealy praised Suns Java as a viable alternative to working with dedicated hardware such as the iLoo. "Weve repeatedly said that any developer who uses enough Java Beans will have no problem using the bathroom gateway."

Do you think the Microsoft iLoo deserves more than potty humor? E-mail me.

Wireless Supersite Editor Ross Rubin is a senior analyst at eMarketer. He has researched wireless communications since 1994 and has been covering technology since 1989.

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