Microsoft Corp. plans to release its Origami paperback-size computer at a news conference on March 9, and hopes it will be the kind of book users won’t want to put down. Ahead of the release there is no way to predict whether the so-called “ultra-mobile PC” will measure up ergonomically: the company isn’t even saying what the device will do.
We are only told that users will want to take it everywhere, and that it’s “never in the way.” The pre-release marketing clip shows a succession of locations — an office tower, a golf course, a mountain top, the subway and a Rio de Janeiro beauty spot – with the Origami in the picture but represented as an “X.”
The project has been shrouded in secrecy as part of the company’s marketing strategy. The only significant detail that has escaped from the information lockdown is that the device will run on a regular Windows XP operating system and have the functionality and almost the same capacity as a notebook. It isn’t known whether the device will have a keyboard, or a stylus and a touch screen. It also isn’t known if users will even be able to input data and messages.
According to Forbes Magazine on February 2, some analysts predict it could be a portable version of the Xbox 360 gaming system. Still others believe the device will be a music player, or even a phone.
Regardless of what the device will do for users, for Microsoft it will be expected to take on Apple. The Mac company’s success with the i-Pod promises to become a legend, and its new Mini Mac also shows promise of winning many devotees. According to Apple, the 6.5 inches square and 2 inches small Mac mini delivers “fun with music, photos and movies — up to four times faster.”
Sources: Forbes; Microsoft Corp.; Apple