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Microsoft Origami Unfolds 469

Posted by Zonk
from the still-wish-it-played-games dept.
College Student writes "Microsoft has officially unveiled 'Origami', a paperback-book sized portable hybrid (laptop & PDA). From article: 'The new machines will connect wirelessly to the Internet and carry full-sized hard drives, but they are not intended to replace current PCs....The new PCs are expected to sell for between $599 to $999, but Microsoft said it is possible to sell one for $500 if the manufacturer selects components carefully.'" More details at the official Microsoft site, and via Channel 9 a look at the system with the UMPC general manager.
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Microsoft Origami Unfolds

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  • A few questions: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:12AM (#14882204)

    Why no physical thumb board? Surely the screen could have slid up (a la Sidekick) to reveal a physical QWERTY keyboard...it's good that there's an option for the onscreen thumboard deal in the lower corners, but it's intrusive and unnecessarily difficult (I have to learn a new key layout now?). The alternative,of course, is the stylus...and although I recognize the versatility of a stylus, I was still more than happy to retire mine when I switched from Palm to Sidekick.

    Is this thing supposed to be a phone as well? The teaser site touts Origami as the "go-everywhere, do-everything mobile device", but in the screen shots I couldn't find any phone software, and I can't imagine holding this thing up to my ear (until Sidekicks became popular, everyone looked at me funny when I answered a call, and the Sidekick is about a quarter of the Origami's size).

    Does it run Linux?
    No...seriously. Does it? Or will it in the future? The device looks great, but I'd be happier running Linux on it than Windows. Unfortunately, I don't think Bill will buy back your Windows CE license if you do decide to switch. ^_^
    • Re:A few questions: (Score:5, Informative)

      by pimpimpim (811140) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:19AM (#14882244)
      look at the pictures on this dutch news site:

      http://www.nu.nl/news.jsp?n=689884&c=134 [www.nu.nl]

      Apparently, it has a rotatable back, revealing a small size keyboard. This would make it interesting for me. And I'm also interested in the hardware issues, might be a nice thing to run linux on, I'd buy it instead of a laptop. What also would be nice is a USB port to connect a real keyboard to it.

    • by 1000101 (584896) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:26AM (#14882289)
      "Unfortunately, I don't think Bill will buy back your Windows CE license if you do decide to switch.

      I doubt he would too since this thing runs Windows XP [microsoft.com]

    • by shmlco (594907) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:27AM (#14882302) Homepage
      One of the prototypes does have a thumb keyboard if needed, with the screen rotating on the base to reveal it (sort of a "plus" shape).

      Personally, they indicated that it will slot in between cell-phones and notebooks, and be easier to pop into a purse or backpack. The real question is: Does that slot exist?

      In additon to the obvious music and movie applicatons, I also wonder how many companies will port their games to it. Could this also be MS's entry into the "Game Boy" market?

    • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:34AM (#14882350)
      -No keyboard at a time with mobile computing is moving to keyboards: check

      -It's basically a big PDA at a time when the PDA market is on it's death bead [zdnet.com.au]: check

      -It's not a phone at a time when the smartphone market is growing rapidly [instat.com]: check

      Either Microsoft knows something nobody else does, they're just playing a niche for incrimental revenue, or, well, I don't know. I don't get it.

      TW
      • by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:14PM (#14883200)
        Some people amaze me. First of all these OEM devices are running XP Tablet Edition. The devices are being made by other companies. MS is not making hardware here. Other companies have determined there is a demand and they are making the product. Microsoft is merely working with them.

        Secondly an Origami device extends the functionality of the products that are hot (bluetooth cellphones with internet capability). Who the hell wants to surf the internet on a phone? Who the hell thinks it is ideal to show their friends their digital photo album on a tiny iPod screen? Who wants to lug around a big laptop bag with them everywhere they go?

        This device is a perfect addition to somebody who doesn't need to do much more than surf the Internet and check email. But it is also perfect for anybody who already has a main computer but needs something that is the size of a small tablet and has full XP functionality that they can easily and comfortably take with them to a coffee shop, meetings or on an airplane.

        I've been wanting a device in exactly this form factor for years. I can't wait till they hit the stores!!!
      • Don't get it? Seems pretty damn obvious to me.

        Okay now, it should be pretty obvious to everybody that this is fundamentally a defensive move by Microsoft.
        - They've got the anticipatory buzz from the $100 laptop project hemming them in on one side, with early adopters (including me) saying "I've got to get me one of those and I'll gladly pay twice or three times the hundred dollar price".
        - On the other hand they've got existing smart phones and increasingly funtional "super"mp3players like the newest iP

    • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:49AM (#14882464)
      The nokia 770 runs linux and is more practical. 3rd party bluetooth headset support is available and an officially supported VoIP phone is going to be out in the next couple of months. And if for nothing else, it's fun to hack ;) 350 dollars retail.
      • by ztirffritz (754606) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:10PM (#14883163)
        You can actually install Asterisk on the 770 and make it into a PBX!http://www.cayennegraphics.com/asterisk770/ [cayennegraphics.com]
      • The 770 is nice (I have one), but is somewhat crippled by Nokia's decision to only put 64MB of RAM in it (just about enough for the kernel, X and one or two Opera windows). You can mount a swap partition on flash card, which helps a lot, but reduces the life of your flash card. It's also somewhat limited by the fact that you can't install applications on a flash card (just on the internal flash). Oh, and the fact that it has Nokia's 'so near, and yet so far' approach to usability. And the fact that that
  • by Wardini (608107) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:13AM (#14882207)
    Or I'll just wait for that $100 PC. When is that coming out?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Use your imagination... a $100 laptop is a ONE HUNDRED dollar laptop. In electronics you usually DO get what you pay for.
    • Or I'll just wait for that $100 PC. When is that coming out?

      Unless you live in Sudan or somewhere else fun like that, for you the answer is "never."

      • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:42AM (#14882412) Journal
        Unless you live in Sudan or somewhere else fun like that, for you the answer is "never."

        This is something I just can't wrap my head around. The more they sell, the cheaper they are to make. There are thousands of rural/poor school districts in the U.S. that would LOVE to get their hands on semi-rugged, simple, cheap laptops and give one to each student. I guess because we don't live in Africa the fact that we don't have the money to provide technology to our students doesn't matter.

        They could sell tens of millions of those in the U.S. and make the units even more affordable in places like Sudan (mark them up to $150 here if you want, then it only costs $50 to put on in the hands of an African student).
        • BTW, I'm not ragging on you, just the whole "sell 'em to the 3rd world" movement. The problem is that the per capita income in Sudan is $460 per year, as compared to $40,100 per year in the US. $150 is an impulse level 0.3% of income over here but a whopping 10.9% of income there. To equate the economic impact, that's like selling them for a bargain $4,370.90 here. To make matters worse, Sudanese are a bit more preoccupied with buying food and shelter with that $460 than we are here. You need to visit one o
        • "The more they sell, the cheaper they are to make."

          To an extent, since volume does drive down price but there is a hard wall at which prices are not going to go below on things like display, battery, CPU and RAM. I imagine the touchscreen costs quite a bit more than a simple LCD and keyboard.

          What you are looking for is really Negorponte's $100 laptop. If it survives and gets rolling, which is still a big if, I'm sure they can sell it to low income American's not just Africans and Asians. They aren't targ
        • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @02:37PM (#14884419) Homepage
          This is something I just can't wrap my head around. The more they sell, the cheaper they are to make. There are thousands of rural/poor school districts in the U.S. that would LOVE to get their hands on semi-rugged, simple, cheap laptops and give one to each student. I guess because we don't live in Africa the fact that we don't have the money to provide technology to our students doesn't matter.

          They could sell tens of millions of those in the U.S. and make the units even more affordable in places like Sudan (mark them up to $150 here if you want, then it only costs $50 to put on in the hands of an African student).


          When I was in Kenya in the summer of 1990 building a medical clinic in the town of Shiru (2-3 hrs East on the Kinshaha Hwy from Kisumu) I had the opportunity to meet many of the people in the area naturally.

          They were all smart, and as well educated as you might expect people in that area to be, in fact, I was quite impressed with their level of education. However, in the area where I was, power was not common. There was a grand total of 3 light fixtures in the two medical clinic buildings. Everything else was done with dirty kerosene home made lamps (made out of garbage, very impressive improvisation).

          The children there generally owned one set of clothes (often their Scouting uniform - which had no badges or any other "bling" of any kind). They had no pens, no pencils, and certanly no paper. In fact, I understand that being able to give most third world children pens or pencils is often a wonderful gift.

          Nobody owned shoes, although running is a popular pastime. The kids played soccer, and since they could not even afford a soccer ball (I really wish we had brought some, if you go to Kenya, bring some balls *AND* a pump for the children, they will love you for it) they made their soccer balls out of woven strands of some kind of grass or reeds. Very well done, I know I could not do it.

          There was no source of clean water, in fact, we did not have filtration for ourselves and had to boil everything, even then we did get some contaminated water, and nearly every North American in the group fell sick for over a week. These people drink water that is contaminated with human waste and many parasites because they have no other options.

          The nearest phone was in Kisumu. (That may have changed now...)

          And this tea plantation/village was right on the Kinsasha highway.

          If these children got laptops/pdas/newtons for "education" they would sell them (or more likely have them stolen) and buy their families things - like better food, medicine for diseases, clothes, improvements on their houses, or even pens pencils and paper for schoolwork.

          People have been getting along without laptops in school for a very long time, they are not required for education. In fact, they are not really required for any NEED that I know of. People in third world countries have needs that need to be met before they can begin to rely on "Toys" like laptops.

          They could use more pens and paper first, and clean water, better homes, clothes and medical care first IMO.
  • Nokia 770 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:13AM (#14882210) Homepage Journal
    Isn't this similar to the Nokia 770 [nokia.com]?

    Only more expensive...
    • Re:Nokia 770 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr Europe (657225) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:17AM (#14882233)
      There's at least one MAJOR difference Origami is running some Windows version and Nokia 770 is running (Debian based) Maemo! Open source.
      • Re:Nokia 770 (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Frankie70 (803801)

        There's at least one MAJOR difference Origami is running some Windows version and Nokia 770 is running (Debian based) Maemo! Open source


        Yup.

        In other words, the average chap wouldn't have to learn a new UI with Origami.
        Also more existing software would work on it.
        • Re:Nokia 770 (Score:5, Informative)

          by LDoggg_ (659725) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:39AM (#14882892) Homepage
          In other words, the average chap wouldn't have to learn a new UI with Origami.

          That is barely relevant.
          You can pretty much expect that you'll get different UI with a handheld than you would with a desktop. Doesn't seem to be a problem when people get a new cell phone with a million options.

          The major difference is in the toolkits developers will be using to produce software for the thing.
    • by Vengeance (46019)
      Not entirely:

      THIS will have a battery life of about 2 hours, maybe 3 on the outside.
    • Re:Nokia 770 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Feneric (765069) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:23AM (#14882267) Homepage

      You can almost say the same thing about it and the Newton. In many ways it's like a more expensive Newton with a very similar form-factor and even the built-in stand.

      It has some plusses and minuses though.

      On the plus side, it's color (the Newton is grayscale) with somewhat better resolution, and its wireless stuff is all built-in (the Newton has pretty much the same wireless capabilities but only via PCMCIA cards). It's probably got a faster processor (not clear at first blush from the specs) but I'm sure that difference will be absorbed by software.

      On the minus side, the built-in stand doesn't double as a screen cover like it does on the Newton. It's heavier than the Newton. I'm guessing that with its color display its battery life will be nowhere near the battery life of the Newton. It's not clear from the specs, but unless they made some big changes its OS is unlikely to be as stylus-optimized as the Newton's, and since the stylus is its main form of input that's a big drawback.

      • Re:Nokia 770 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by outZider (165286) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:32AM (#14882825) Homepage
        Hey, fanboy. I love Newtons too, but get real.

          * It runs a real operating system
          * It has a processor that is faster by at least five times
          * It has a real display
          * It has a lot of software freely available

        This, as a portable computer, is far more capable than a Newton. As a PDA, the Newton wins. By a hair.
    • by JFlex (763276) *
      Yes it does.. but this one is gonna run Windows.. so its gotta be better!
    • Re:Nokia 770 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lazarus (2879)
      Yep. Strangely neither of these devices comes with a calendar. Something *I* would expect in a portable communications device. Clearly as these large powerful companies full of smart poeple don't think this is something I should have, I must be wrong...
    • by at_slashdot (674436) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:17AM (#14882696)
      Isn't this similar to the Nokia 770?

      Only more expensive...


      It's also uglier, on the flip side it probably can run all the viruses that are available for Windows.
  • Tablet PC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:13AM (#14882211) Homepage
    I read the article, but I just want to be clear. Are these nothing more than smaller tablet PCs? I just assumed Origami was a bigger deal than that, considering all the hype.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:17AM (#14882235)
      It seems that Microsoft feel the Tablet PC concept didn't fail badly enough the last time they tried it, so in true Microsoft fashion they've reworked it, rebranded it and relaunched it as a NEW! EXCITING! same old thing. Except now they look like Sega GameGears and have a cheap plastic stand that fold out. Woo.
      • Re:Tablet PC (Score:3, Insightful)

        The tablet PC FAILED? Holy crap, someone better call all those businesses that are buying them for their employees!

        I don't think that word means what you think it means.

        Sure, they didn't take over the laptop world, but the product is still out there and a lot of people are still buying them and using them. That's a far cry from failure.
    • Re:Tablet PC (Score:3, Insightful)

      by e2d2 (115622)
      I read the article, but I just want to be clear. Are these nothing more than smaller tablet PCs? I just assumed Origami was a bigger deal than that, considering all the hype.

      Why is it, after every product release, someone says "is this it? I thought it would be more considering the hype".

      What, do you actually fall for the corporate hype?

      No product lives up to the hype, hence the word HYPE.

      I'm not sure exactly what product you are waiting for but I have bad news - it's never coming. Except for the beer fetch
      • Re:Tablet PC (Score:4, Insightful)

        by revscat (35618) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:34AM (#14882847) Journal

        Why is it, after every product release, someone says "is this it? I thought it would be more considering the hype". What, do you actually fall for the corporate hype? No product lives up to the hype, hence the word HYPE.Why is it, after every product release, someone says "is this it? I thought it would be more considering the hype". What, do you actually fall for the corporate hype? No product lives up to the hype, hence the word HYPE.

        You can be disappointed without being gullible. I saw the initial "commercial" for the Origami back a few weeks ago, and what THAT showed was actually pretty cool. This, however, is very different from what was shown there but also pretty uninteresting.

        I like technology, so even though I have next to no respect for Microsoft I nonetheless was interested. I'm also disappointed that this thing has turned out to be so banal. It has nothing to do with gullibility.

        • Re:Tablet PC (Score:3, Interesting)

          by e2d2 (115622)
          Yeah true. I just found out about Origami from CNN yesterday and what is the first thing I do? I start wondering what the hype is all about. Dig a little deeper and find it's a tablet. Dig further and find it's another type of tablet and I'm a bit disappointed. I know that CNN has to draw eyeballs, but they totally spun it as if this secret product meant a whole new direction for MS, ala Apple with it's IPod.

          Pretty much another let down.
    • It's a Newton! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aussersterne (212916) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:05AM (#14882609) Homepage
      - Form factor is Newton 2100
      - Wireless, etc. (just like Newton 2100 these days)
      - Does everything a PC does (Newton surfed web, did email, ran webserver, word processing, spreadsheets, databases)

      The device looks almost like a Newton sitting in the lady's hands, if you take a step back. Folks, this is the 2006 version of the 1996 Newton 2100 that everyone makes fun of Apple for. Of course, it won't be as good, because part of what made the Newton amazing was Newton OS, which is still one of the best OSes I've ever had the pleasure of using.
      • MS Newton? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jpellino (202698) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @01:57PM (#14884122)
        Yikes. The pic on this MS press page looks eerily like a Newton...

        http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2006/m ar06/03-09Mobile.mspx [microsoft.com]

        I love them, but they're neither fish nor fowl, they can't fit in a real pocket and aren't enough like a pad of paper. When it gets to 8.5 x 11 x .5 and 3lb, we'll treat it like a true book or notebook and use it for everything.

        As long as they think they're breaking ground, when is someone with a "full" OS device going to give us if nothing else a piece of paper screen factor, because let's face it - we're still tied to pieces of paper for handling and output and the sad legacy of 24x80 CRT for display... seems easier to munge the screen than the paper or our brains.

        Man, the press thought the Apple event was a non-starter, this looks like the headline of the day is "Yippee - Another Newton | Tablet | eBook"
  • Not this again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:13AM (#14882212)
    I feel there's a void of uselessness in sizes between the PDA and the laptop. If I can't put it in my pants pocket, then I have to carry/backpack it, so it might as well be a laptop with a real keyboard.
    • Re:Not this again (Score:4, Interesting)

      by guacamolefoo (577448) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:36AM (#14882368) Homepage Journal
      I think that there is room for a device between laptop size and pda size. I remember the old HP Omnibooks and the Jornada-type devices.

      MSFT's info says that this thing is the size of a paperback. Maybe a trade paperback. I'd like something in a clamshell design with a screen that is maybe the size of my HP17BII calculator, or just under 6" by about 3". A little keyboard below and a screen on top. Maybe use a Thinkpad nub for a pointing device. Allow PCMCIA and USB, and really that's all I want. I could add wifi via pcmcia if I really need it, or a Verizon wireless card that way.

      I'd need maybe a couple of gigs on the drive, like 2 or 4. They can get that in an iPod, why not a small palmtop?

      I wouldn't look for a really snappy processor, as battery life (and size/heat) would obviously be issues.

      It would just be nice to have something small and thin to work with from time to time if I'm waiting in court or travelling or sitting at home with the kids. PLus, lugging around a laptop is a pain in the ass.
    • Agree 100% (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:37AM (#14882376) Homepage
      I had high hopes for this "Origami", I thought it would finally be the integration device we'vbe bene waiting for (cell phone, PDA, MP3 player, games machine, digital camera, all in an easy to use functional package), but I am very disappointed by this "brick" machine.

      Sure, this may serve a neiche of people who want something smalelr and cheaper than a laptop but more powerful than a PDA, but how large is that neiche? PDAs and smartphones are getting better all the time, and like the parent said, if it is bigger than a PDA it might as well be a small laptop.

    • by bradleyland (798918) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:49AM (#14882466)
      I've been crying for something just a little larger for a long time. PDAs are great for IT professionals, but they're too small to be practical in many situations. I have a small form factor laptop, but it's just too big and cumbersome to use on the go, like at a client when they're walking around their office explaining what they want done.

      Currently I use a pencil and paper, but I like to archive any documents related to customer service and change requests, so I end up either A) typing up my notes, or B) scanning in pencil drawings. Neither is much fun. I've toyed with OneNote, but it's an application looking for a home. I think this device will be it.

      I could buy a tablet PC, but they're all large-ish, expensive, and get pretty hot. I need something smaller, with instant on, and decent battery life. I have a DC/AC inverter in my car that's always plugged in, so charging on the go isn't really a problem. I just need a device that fits these criteria.

      Anyone else out there in my position?

      PS - I'm also hoping that this has the option to run in portrait mode, as well as landscape. Any word on that?
      • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:50AM (#14882990)
        The killer product in this market is simply a wireless display. Ideally this would have a e-ink, some wireless adapter, a smallish keyboard, and a custom chip that does VNC really fast and efficiently. Then you can use the cell phone network to get your actual computer and all of its capabilities from anywhere over the cell network or get fast response over a house/hotel local wireless network. Or 'rent' a virtual computer from the phone company.

        It would be light, disposable, rugged, protect against data loss, fast (if 'close' to your computer), have excellent batter life (10+ hours), etc.
      • from the parent: I need something smaller, with instant on, and decent battery life

        from the article: the new devices, which will have battery life of about three hours

        This is not your father's Palm Pilot (or Newton). It won't have "instant on", because it has a 3 hour battery life, and when you turn it on, you will have to wait for it to boot Windows.

        In other news, "New" is not necessarily the same as "Improved".

        Doug Moen

      • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:27PM (#14883329)

        If you don't mind keeping your drawings on paper and if all you want otherwise is to take notes, it's hard to beat a mid-1980s Tandy 102 [planetnz.com]. (Lots of good info and links on that page, btw.) I'm dead serious. Up until a few years ago, I regularly wrote for publication. The gig required extensive travel and *all* I needed was something with a good keyboard to record text. For that simple purpose, these things are still amazing. Instant-on, rugged, super-lightweight, 20 hours of battery life from 4 AA batteries, exactly the right size to actually throw on your lap and get *real* work done - these attributes are nothing to sneeze at.

        Compare the typing experience on a 102 to that of a modern PDA with an accessory foldable keyboard. Compare it to one of those idiotic thumb-driven toys. There is no comparison. If you learned to type the old-fashioned way, via a manual typewriter or, at best, one of those brand-fangled new IBM Selectric things, then what passes for a "modern portable keyboard" is a joke. In my heyday, I could pour text into my 102 so fast that the sound of individual keystrokes begn to get lost in a sort of clackety hum.

        Right now, I temporarily don't use it. In two years, when I retire from my day job and start writing on the road again, you better believe my 102 is coming out of storage and I'm putting it back to work.

    • Re:Not this again (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shaka999 (335100)
      Hmmm, personally I find a PDA near useless. Too small for anything but a calendar and my phone now takes care of that.

      I think the new size could be perfect for many applications. I haven't heard media center mentioned but if this has XP media edition I think it could be a hit. Use this for a front-end on a box with a tuner and you can have a portable TV anywhere in your house. Not bad. Sony has been selling these for a while and ridiculous prices. The price points listed are cheaper then the Sony TVs
  • I applaud new products, but hasn't this been done before? Haven't "palmtops" been around for like 5+ years? Is the new innovation simply the price? I'm not bashing MS here, i'm simply wondering what the big breakthrough is. (and if it's the price, then that's fine - I don't recall how much palmtops cost. If they usually cost $2000, then this $500 version truly is special, i suppose...)
  • Title says it all really. There's nothing really new here. Wintel have been trying to push this idea for a while. So far it doesn't address what users really want.
  • Hype (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shamowfski (808477) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:16AM (#14882225)
    I'd like to thank the Microsoft Hype Machine for providing me yet another huge let down. The fact that microsoft doesn't have an actual product to market I guess shouldn't surprise me, but for a few weeks, I did have hope...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:16AM (#14882226)
    The reactions to Oragami remind me of on of my favorite bits from HitchHikers Guide:

    "One of Zaphod's heads looked away. The other one looked round to see what the first was looking at, but it wasn't looking at anything very much."

  • by Winterblink (575267) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:16AM (#14882227) Homepage
    Linky [engadget.com]

    I remember seeing this thing on a CNet video a year ago, it was extremely impressive back then running a full version of XP with all the inputs and outputs you could want.
  • more pics etc. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrSkwid (118965) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:18AM (#14882241) Homepage Journal
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/08/origami_um pc_clunker/ [theregister.co.uk]

    another MS hardware failure, to be sure
    • Re:more pics etc. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pimpimpim (811140) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:47AM (#14882448)
      _another_ MS hardware failure? MS hardware itself has a pretty good reputation actually, I know a lot of linux-only people that use a microsoft mouse for this reason. The OS can be another thing, as the register article mentions the daily reboot necessary for the previous tablet pc os.
      • I have three MS keyboards and two MS mice. The ergonomic "split-key" keyboards are great, with excellent "feel," a good layout, and they are quite durable. I know there are folks who take issue with the extra buttons (above the F keys) but they don't bother me (since I don't use them). The wireless mouse/keyboard combo that I use on my XP game machine at home is really nice, and the battery life has been decent. Since I spend my days typing (I'm a tech writer) a good keyboard is a must, and despite looking
        • > Since I spend my days typing (I'm a tech writer) a good keyboard is a must, and despite looking around quite a bit,
          > I really haven't found anything as good as the MS keyboards.

          Get thee to eBay and buy yourself an IBM Model M or a Northgate Omnikey. They are both still available if you are patient. There is even a company that has bought the rights to the Model M's design and making new ones, can't recall the name right now. A couple of years ago I lucked up on a pair of Model M keyboards with a
      • Re:more pics etc. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @01:42PM (#14883980)
        Tablet PCs are regarded as a failure in the market, and the X-Box and XBox 360 haven't been as stellar as hoped, and that is what people are talking about when referring to Microsoft electronic devices. Mice and keyboards are a bit more trivial as electronics devices and don't really count. When it comes to real consumer gadgets, Microsoft has yet to sell a success.

        This new Tablet PC device is uncomfortably sized between a small PDA and a small laptop, so it will be compared with both. If I want portable computing, I'll take a MacBook Pro. If I want ultramobile computing, I'll get a Blackberry. There's not much here to make Origami devices stand out from those two extremes.
  • by acvh (120205)
    Ok, I didn't really read much on the subject, but it sounds like all Origami is is a spec for this small form factor ultra-tablet PC. That lets Microsoft talk like they've invented something cool, but require the hardware vendors to make the investment in product development. When it fails they can just blame the hardware guys, and roll the features into the next generation of Windows.


  • If this thing is like a Libretto, or like that ultra-small Vaio than Sony built for a while, then I'd buy one. I'd buy one because I have a lot of word documents, excel spreadsheets, half-finished novels, C# code and so on to work with wherever I am. Can't do it on a PDA, can't yank out a full-sized laptop all the time either.

    Why anyone would buy this kind of thing for the same niche as a PDA or mobile phone, though, I can't begin to imagine. I can foresee a future in which I am the only one with an Orig
  • I had several more sites with loads of information for my version of this article. I event had a link for umpc.com [umpc.com] which is a website created by Intel for the UMPC community and even has a web forum with development information.

    I feel cheated =/
  • by inmortal (752451) <inmortal2koneNO@SPAMterra.es> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:21AM (#14882261)
    And how much is the cost of the operating system?

    Ironic: Will they sell a version "empty" (without OS)?

    Maybe you can install linux to it and then sell the windows OS and then have it for 100$ "less"?

    cya
    • No, if Dell has taught us anything, it's that the Linux/ No OS version will cost $100 more than the windows version.
    • And how much is the cost of the operating system?

      Well, since you probably won't be able to buy the OS without the hardware, $0 :p

      Ironic: Will they sell a version "empty" (without OS)?

      I should think it's possible, but I seriously doubt it. Won't be long before someone gets Linux on it, though.

      Maybe you can install linux to it and then sell the windows OS and then have it for 100$ "less"?

      OEM licenses aren't transferable, so no.
  • So I've been in the market for a portable media player, mostly for my Divx movie collection and TV shows to watch on the morning commute. My main concern is ability to handle obscure codecs, screen size, and battery life. This thing should be able to handle codecs fine....the screen looks decent...but how is the battery life for playing movies? That seems to always be the shortcoming of these devices. Now if you slapped a fuel cell in there, then maybe we'd be talking.

    BTW, can anybody recommend a PMP?

    • Re:Video? (Score:2, Informative)

      by ikejam (821818)
      a wm5 dell axim when theres a discount on with The Core Media player could do.

      plus its a pda with wifi as well....

      ofcourse its hardly cool, but still.

      or you could try creative zen vision, though im not a big fan of the build quality of theur mp3 players.
  • From what I can tell, it seems to just be the Pepper Pad [pepperpad.com], but with Microsoft Inside.
  • Origami with (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ikejam (821818) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:24AM (#14882277)
    no particular identity
    no particular use
    no particular target client
    no particular chance of success

    origami (ôr'-gä'm) pronunciation
    n., pl. -mis.

          2. A decorative object made by folding paper.

    a decorative object...ohhh..i get it now..
  • Seems like it should say these words - always connected to the internet.

    Doesn't seem so bad then!
  • why do they gotta make these things so big and fat?

    all i want is something the size of my former Newton MP2x00. It is the sweet spot between huge tablet PCs (I will not carry around an 7 lb tablet just like a notebook- sorry) and too small PDAs (3-4" screens don't cut it for a lot of things). I want something that will fit in a pair of my pants with deep pockets, or in a jacket pocket- something the Newton MP2x00 did, as well as various handheld PCs (Jornada 720, Sigmarion 3, HP200lx) I've had or tried.

    *sig
  • There is a difinitive difference between the design paradigms of Apple Computers and Microsoft Window devices, and it affects everything you do with computers. The development of ORIGAMI proves this.

    "Microsoft hopes the computer makers will make great UMPCs for the market." - B. Gates

    "Let the market drive the design of these devices" - B. Gates


    Do you see the evolution here? Let the market drive the improvements. Hands off the suppliers of these devices. Let them follow whatever pattern works. (Maybe they wi
    • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:34AM (#14882352) Journal
      Most likely, you will find that any product made by Apple is of excellent design right out of the box.

      You've obviously never used OS 8.

      Don't monkey around. Get a Mac. It is the intelligent choice.

      No, thanks. Don't like the things myself. Ever since the first iMac and Apple's abomination called iPod, I just have no use for their products. I can get the same (actually, better) level of functionality with a lot less money by going elsewhere.

      But kudos on a well-written propa...err...post :D
  • And you have a handy dandy toy that will keep your pocket warm for an hour or so.

  • I think this product is rather mundane after hearing all the hype about Origami, not that I really bought into it to begin with. Still, this doesn't really seem to fill a niche that wasn't already filled. It is certainly not the iPod killer some called it earlier.

    Some problems I can see:

    It doesn't really offer more or better functionality than a Nokia 770 or a tablet PC. In fact, I think I rather have a small tablet PC so I would have access to a keyboard. With a codename of Origami, you would think this wo
  • by Rydia (556444) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:30AM (#14882324)
  • by Mille Mots (865955) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:35AM (#14882358)
    My prediction is that the various manufacturers will fold early in the game. The design is just not cut out for success.

    --
    This sig left intentionally blank

  • What will Apple do? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:36AM (#14882373) Journal
    Apple hasn't come up with a tablet PC, does anybody here suppose they will try to come up with a competitor for this market? I'd envision them doing something along the lines of the eMate [wegenermedia.com], obviously in color and much less garrish this time.
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:44AM (#14882420) Homepage Journal
    OK, I'm going engage in something that I usually detest: predictive punditry.

    Here goes: This thing is going to flop.

    Here are the reasons why:

    (1) It fits into the space between laptops and phones, the same place PDAs are struggling in. They will have to to steal market share from a declining market segment.
    (2) Portable => form factor is critical && the form factor == Newton && Newton == marketing flop.
    (3) The lowest conceivable selling price is equal to the highest conceivable buying price.
    (4) Challenge the iPod? With something this big? Are they nuts?

    I am a well known non-believer in convergence as a user concept, but as a marketing concept it's a winner. We'll probably end up with converged devices and laptops pincering any product category in between to death.

    What this means is that if there are markets for intermediate form factors such as PDAs and small tablets, they will have to be cheap and as non-converged as can be -- they'll have to be built around a "killer app" for a some market segment. That probably means shirt pocket organizers in the sub $50 range, hand held gaming in the sub $100 range. These may accrete certain PDA like functions as a kind of "freebie", the way even rudimentary non-converged phones have calendars and alarms, but they aren't going to be the deal closers for the buyers.
  • by bombadillo (706765) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:48AM (#14882456)
    The new PCs are expected to sell for between $599 to $999, but Microsoft said it is possible to sell one for $500 if the manufacturer selects components carefully.'"

    The Microsoft spokesman added. Yeah you could definitely get a $500 dollar price point if you installed linu..... I mean less ram....
  • by HighOrbit (631451) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:07AM (#14882628)
    Over-hyped yes, but this will still have a niche of practical applications. First, it runs standard XP, which means you can now have your standard business applications in a smaller form factor.

    Secondly, it is about the size as the Day-Runner that I used to carry around with me in the early-90s. OK, so now imagine a leather book-style case (like the day runner) that will hold a fold-up USB keyboard and mouse. You basically have an ultra light laptop.

    I think the real niche for this is to replace traditionally embedded one-application devices like inventory systems. You can now have a much more full feature general computer. So now you can put a shoulder strap on this, plug in a USB device (like a bar-code or RFID reader) do your inventory, look up items on the locally cached database, and run custom designed perl-scripts on the data right there in the field. You will also be able to get away from highly proprietary systems and instead have lots of competing software and USB devide vendors and much better integration into your networks (since it is just a pc).



    The bottom line is that you can now squeeze a standard PC into a smaller form factor. This will displace some embedded devices in places that we haven't even thought of yet. At this point, I see very little need for XP-embedded or CE, if I can have the full featured version running standard software. And remember, this is generation one. Future generations will probably have even a smaller form-factor with more powerful hardware.
  • by Quarters (18322) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:52AM (#14883003)
    If a company makes a new instrument to be installed into the cockpit panel of an airplane the device must literally go through years of FAA testing before it is certified. This is because the device is interfacing with the aircraft's electrical system, possible it's vacuum system, etc... If the device doesn't install into the panel and use the aircraft's systems then it doesn't have to be certified. This stipulation, along with PDAs, has led to an explosion of useful aviation aid software being written. HSIs, moving maps w/GPS, weather maps, flight computers, etc.... The only downside really is the small size of the PDA screen. While it could all be done on laptops the size of an average laptop is too big for the cramped cockpit of a Cessna 152, 172, 182 or a Piper, etc..

    These Origami class devices look like the perfect size to be useful in the small environs of a single-engine airplane cockpit.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:11PM (#14883172)
    I was listening to my local MS fanboy / coworker / friend talk last week about how this was going to kill the iPod, cell phones, and PDAs.

    This thing weighs two pounds, is absolutely huge, and apparently doesn't have the day-long battery life people were hyping (nor, obviously, the ONE pound weight).

    I bet this could make a dent in the retail sector, replacing tablet PCs (Woo woo! Cheaper devices, less profit!); but there's no way anyone but a few dedicated MS fans will be lugging these around. MS is totally targeting the wrong sector.
  • Another thought (Score:3, Interesting)

    by simong (32944) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @01:07PM (#14883678) Homepage
    Lots of people thought that this was going to play games, and so was aimed at the PSP market. If they do it right, with a decent graphics card, it probably will, but only PC games, so the Xbox is safe. Lots of people thought it was going to be a media device, and with Windows Media Player, and a decent bus, it probably will be, but it has no removable storage, just a big disk for its size, and dumping a DVD on that big disc is contrary to principles of DRM. It has potential as a portable communicator, but my PDA does that all ready. A built in camera would allow it to extend its messaging capabilities, and hey, why not a 3G or UTMS connection while you're at it, but they're probably not in the hardware spec. So what is it? I'm sure it will include Office or a UMPC version of it, so you will be able to capture those moments of inspiration on the train, but you can do that with laptop for not much difference in price. It will play music and movies but so does my (insert small format mp3 player here). It's got a nice big screen for reading ebooks, and it's stolen a march on the Sony Reader. But it's too big for that and has the same battery life as a laptop. The Sony Reader ain't all that either.
    Microsoft find it difficult to think beyond the PC platform, and as the PC platform increasingly means the office they find it hard to think beyond office apps. Maybe we should leave them to their devices (heh), and grit our teeth at work (or persuade our bosses that Linux/OpenOffice is cheaper and more stable), while enjoying convergence in the comfort of our living rooms, and maybe expecting to see UMPCs for cheap in surplus stores in a couple of years time.
  • I was really excited by the possibility until I saw the three hour battery life. This cripples the entire project, in my opinion, because it dictates how you use it. Unless you can reliably use it whenever you feel like it during the day without having to monitor battery life continuously or worry about it pooping out on you it's effectively tied to outlets (car, office, etc). I know that's how I'd feel about it because even though I can get 3-4 hours out of my laptop on battery I rarely use it that way because I'm always worried that when I really need the batteries they won't be there.

    Until they can get all-day battery life it's just not interesting to me. By "all day" I mean 8-hours with moderate use as a BARE minimum, and I'd really want something more like 12-16. It should be as portable battery-wise as cell phones were when they took off or portable players are when they took off. Otherwise it's just not genuinely portable.

    -stormin
  • by lucas teh geek (714343) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:37PM (#14886521)
    From microsoft.com:
    Full-size software
    Use full versions of Microsoft Office system software, Internet Explorer, and other Windows-compatible applications.
    and
    Hardware Specifications
    Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 OS
    Approximately 7" diagonal display (or smaller)
    Minimum 800 x 480 resolution
    Approximately 2 pounds
    Integrated touch panel
    WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled
    Oh, its gonna be fun using full versions of Word on that 7", 480px high screen! thats probably almost enough to see all the toolbars

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