I was at the 2003 CES and spent a few minutes with the iPronto. The booth was positioned right by the stage where dancers and gymnasts were constantly doing a show to draw crowds, and the noise and crowd made it very difficult to concentate and thoroughly evaluate the iPronto.
Being a current owner of a ProntoPro 6000, I was overall quite disappointed with the iPronto. There are other more generic devices that are rapidly filling in the gap that the pronto line occupies.
The future will be a tablet sort of device such as a Progear or Tablet PC, running a full version of Windows XP or Windows CE.
I was very impressed by several other devices that provided all the functionality of the iPronto, but also have other features, some at a much lower price point. Web tablets running Mira or full-blown Windows XP tablet edition or even Windows CE PDAs are converging on the pronto and are much more versatile devices.
Tablet devices running Windows can connect to a PC by running Remote Desktop, giving you a fast easy way of controlling your PC from the tablet. Your PC in turn can become a infrared/X10 hub with a device such as a slink-e. Your tablet (coupled to your PC) then can completely control your home theater by infrared, as well as provide home automation using X10 with a simple web interface written in XML.
Several vendors were displaying powerful solutions using this form of interface which has several key advantages:
designed on windows and standard XML - familiar interface for people
XML is portable - will work on any device that provides this interface. Could even work over the internet remotely
Fully two way interface (remote control gives feedback on the status of the device, song playing, etc.)
Very powerful scripting language - completely programmable
Infinitely expandable - I saw three different software programs, one written almost entirely in Macromedia Flash, and two others that ran on both tablet PCs as well as handhelds running windows CE.
Can use the device for other purposes such as web browsing, e-mail with Microsoft Outlook, or even word processing with Microsoft Word. (After all, these devices are just running Windows)
Connections to CCD cameras for home security/monitoring
Check out a site called www.cinemaronline.com
for an example of this sort of interface.
Frankly, with fully functional laptops selling from gateway for $999 for example, and Progear tablets available on e-bay for $500-$900, I don't know how Philips will sell these iProntos for $1600. You are paying more for a product that is less versatile, and can only be used with the software provided by one vendor (Philips).
Sorry. I say NO to iPronto.