Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Origami Unfolds

After weeks of hype and speculation, Intel has given the world a peek at the much-hyped Origami project: a handheld minicomputer with a touch screen designed to run on Microsoft software.

If that sounds familiar, it should: Microsoft Chief Executive Bill Gates has been pushing a version of this device for several years, with little to show for it. Few consumers, it turns out, want to buy a computer that costs as much as a laptop but doesn't work as well.

Now Microsoft is trying again, with what looks to be a line of smaller, cheaper gadgets. Intel executives showed off a prototype of one on Tuesday at the company's developer's conference in San Francisco. The device boasts a 7-inch screen, weighs about 2 pounds and doesn't feature a keyboard; users are supposed to enter data by touching the screen with their finger or with a stylus. Intel executives said the device, which will run on a chip similar to one that powers traditional PCs, will retail for about $1,000 and be in stores later this year.


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