Computer Appliance is an approach to design and program a combined system of computer hardware and hardware optimized software to run on for optimal performance. The word Appliance is denoted to highlight the form factor and usage factor – like home appliance, Computer Appliance is designed as a prototype idea of converged infrastructure.
What makes a Computer Appliance
In case of a generalized computer, take that it will be used only as a storage device, a quad core processor with 8 GB RAM, top notch graphics card – the whole system needs so much dependency, both from the hardware and software aspect; that ultimately they can not perform to the best for only one intended work.
The basic idea of Computer Appliance is to create usage specific hardwares, on that that the Firmware will ride on. As because the usage is targeted, both the hardware and software can be optimized to serve the best, which to carry on, a normal computer would be costly.
Examples of Computer Appliance
Because of wrong usage of the terminology - Computer Appliance ; for the sake of marketing purpose, to the general audience, Computer Appliance has been a vague terminology. We wrote about Virtual Appliance, Embedded System etc. all these are basically closely related to Computer Appliance.
Consumer appliances can be among the Computer Appliance - Digital video recorder (DVR) and Gaming consoles are biggest examples of such Computer Appliance which are also basically Computer Appliance.
Now about one such serious usage of Computer Appliance. We said about Unified Communication, Cisco has a device range named Cisco Unified Communications Manager. This is a good example of Computer Appliance.
Now you are understanding why your Android tablet is actually not a Computer Appliance. Your Android tablet is a hand-held PC which is optimized for voice communication (yes, the base is the smart phone!).