Sunday, March 12, 2006

Microsoft Origami is it worth all that buzz?

Here we reveal truth about Microsoft Origami also known as "Ultra Mobile PC" - we go beyond the buzz and tell you how it is! First of all please note that now there are 3 models of Microsoft Origami (i.e. UMPC = Ultra Mobile PC) devices and we have been playing with all of them! The "Founder" is a model for Asia only made by relatively unknown company there. It has nice construction however a little bit cheap look and feel.

The UMPC from Asus has solid feeling it to it, but is not stylish and most importantly has tendency to overheat very quickly. In other words: sometimes it is so hot that you can't hold it in your hands! Of course the model from Asus has built-in camera and it may be advantage for video calling with use of such applications like Skype.

The only UMPC now that is both stylish, has solid construction and is not overheating after several hours of operation is Q1 from Samsung that has to the right side quite a nice joystick.

Plase note: Samsung Q1 has no PCMCIA card slot - only Compact Flash card slot - and we have heard promises from Samsung that UMTS/HSDPA cards in Compact Flash format will be available for Q1. In other words: sooner or later there will be a card that will turn Origami into mobile phone! ... anyway it already has a microphone especially designed for VoIP...

Conclusion: unfortunately Microsoft has missed an opportunity to introduce some major innovation like multi-touch user interface and just released tiny set of applications to facilitate usage with fingers (rather than with stylus). Microsoft Origami also known as Ultra Mobile PC, is not a revolutionary design, but it is just an evolutionary tiny development that lacks any major breakthroughs in it. At the end everything will boil down to the ratio of price to battery life. The most expensive Origami (the one from Samsung) will cost 1100 USD in USA or 1000 Euro in Europe and it will have 3.5 hours of battery life. These days for the similar price one can get very fast notebooks, also with Centrino Duo processors, so the improved mobility (smaller size) may not be worth the money for many people. On the other hand this UMPC/Origami runs full blown Windows XP so many PC applications will be working right away without the need to adapt them (although Microsoft will probably want developers to make their applications "finger friendly", i.e. looking like the "Program Launcher" above or with big virtual buttons around the screen) - so this mobile computer may find many funs, particularly among people who just need "web pad" but with full Windows XP compatibility and not some crippled operating system like Linux or Windows CE. No, UMPC alias Origami is not worth all that buzz and clearly is over-hyped, but such development was destined to happen: Windows XP (or Windows Vista) becoming adapted to ultra mobile device format. Unfortunately Microsoft has confirmed, that it lacks innovation by not introducing multi-touch user interface with this "new" platform - at least top boss of Origami at Microsoft has promised us that "multi-touch is coming to Origami within Windows Vista time frame"


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