Update: My report on Microsoft Origami just went up. Here is just a tiny sample.“This is yet another failed attempt to jam everything into one device,” says Pip Coburn, technology strategist with Coburn Ventures, a New York-based investment advisory firm. “The way I see it, they […]

Update: My report on Microsoft Origami just went up. Here is just a tiny sample.“This is yet another failed attempt to jam everything into one device,” says Pip Coburn, technology strategist with Coburn Ventures, a New York-based investment advisory firm. “The way I see it, they don’t really know what they want it to be.” Full Story is here.

So finally Microsoft Origami (or what it would be) has been brought to light…. and my first reaction, for crying out loud, yet another digital device?

It is supposed to be the Swiss army knife of digital life, if you believe what you see in Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble’s video. If you read Michael Gartenberg hands on review, you will soon be running off to the nearest store wildly waving your credit card yelling take my money, and give me Origami.

What none of the folks who are writing about the device today address is the bigger issue: since it is an ultra portable PC based on Windows XP, how secure is it? What is the “re-boot” time? How much resources it would need and how long is the battery life. Of course the price point is even more worrisome: at $599 to $999, it is still too expensive for an occasional use device. So here is a question: will equipment makers sacrifice the margins on their thin-and-light notebooks, for Origami? After all, from the video you learn, that Origami does it all, and well, a $600 desktop at home should do the trick in tandem with Origami.

Origami, from what ever I have read, seems will be made by partners, so pretty sure, design innovation and services integration will be sub-par, much like most Microsoft Windows Media-based music players. Engadget has some photos, and from the looks of it, the device is not as sleek as it seems. It looks thick and unwieldy. I am feeling a tad underwhelmed by the ones I see (pics, I admit) online.

My view on any new digital and mobile device is that – both Microsoft and Intel – should stop thinking Windows and try developing a new platform. In other words, think different. Look even Steve “OS-X or nothing” Jobs had to go get another OS platform to get the iPod done. Imagine, the mess a OS-X Inside iPod would be. Microsoft has a product precedent – XBox 360, which does things very well, because it is not hampered by the Windows legacy. New thinking … but then that’s too much to ask from old companies.

PS: Does anyone else feel that Sony, the great consumer electronics company of the past, muffed an opportunity with PSP by not including a hard drive? I love the device, hate the lack of capacity!

  1. Coudn’t agree more. Origami is no iPOD and it is way to expensive to be of any use to mass market.

  2. Or just buy a Nintendo DS and run Opera. $130 vs how much? Hmmmm.

  3. Om,

    Give Sony 6 to 8 months and you will see the new and improved PSP2 that will show MSFT and Intel what Ulta Mobile truly is. Your right about the idea of a new OS. Apple gets it, Sony gets in and Sony understands that if content providers like Google Video continue to show PSP love that they still have a fighting chance own this space.

    I’m sure in the coming week the Origami MADNESS will end when these Gates lovers begin to understand that the device is not that innovative and that their lust for the device was really just joy that MSFT might of developed something that had the potential to be cool. The new video iPod will kick them in the gut. The PSP2, and its integration with the PS3 will slap them back to sanity and once again show them that the Origami was MSFT’s best last hope…

  4. I think Sony was (and still is) torn between making the PSP a gaming device or multimedia device. They are charging $20 for software to help you move media to the device while Apple gives iTunes away for free.

    Plus, adding a hard drive to the PSP would add $80-90 to the bill of materials cost, which would push the retail price past $300. Very expensive for just portable gaming, but right around the mark for portable media…

  5. Jacob Varghese Thursday, March 9, 2006

    I don’t think they want to use a different OS – it’s meant to be able to function as an ultra-mobile PC. I just think they need to tweak the OS to be work more efficiently on a UMPC platform – who knows they might have done that very thing. We haven’t actually tried out the device to judge the usability yet. Hopefully it has a simpler interface at startup for media viewing that gives way to XP when needed.

    Outside of the OS, I’m more concerned about the form – lack of keyboard. I’m a little surprised that they couldn’t fit in at least a thin keyboard which could then double as a screen cover. It would have added much to the usability of the device. I would prefer a widescreen 10″/12″ thin laptop – Sony or the new MAC iBooks. You would need a messenger bag or similar to carry around this device anyways – why wouldn’t you want a more useful one?

    Not sure there is much of a market for this. Too big to carry around in your pocket and too small and keyboardless to be used as an ultra-mobile laptop.

  6. Couldn’t agree more, but I’m not sure that it even needs a hard drive, but thats ok. Why not just take the idea of a full-featured PDA, like a Dell Axim X50v and enlarge the screen? What is so wrong with instant-on operating systems? No one will like a handheld device that takes 5 minutes to boot. They are simply trying to be too much to too many people – all we are looking for is a digital assistant that is a little larger – they can already surf the web, check email, and play videos and music. Is it really that hard to figure out?

  7. Jacob Varghese Thursday, March 9, 2006

    Near instant-on bootups can be acheived just by placing the OS on a flash card. We’re heard about this forever, but we still don’t have a PC that does it.

  8. I think many people made their own assumptions on Oregami’s target market and made their own comparisons between Oregami vs. iPod, Oregami vs. PSP, etc.

    It is what it is, folks! Love it or hate it, but it’s a one of the first of a family of devices to be introduced n the coming year. Microsoft gets critized when they catch on a trend a bit too late as well as when they innovate. Apple, on the other hand, can make no mistakes, eh?

    I think everyone should take off their polarizer lenses and look at these gadget for what they are and not who’s behind them.

    Remember Newton? hmmm, no keyboard, about a $1000 when a grand was a lot more. Oh, what about the Apple Cube … that was a big success, wasn’t it? Do I need to say more? ;) Do we hate Apple for those silly mistakes? No, because these mistakes are by-product of innovation (not suggestion Oregami is the same). Microsoft is on the same path … at least when it comes to hardware.

    Hopefully the Oregami will lead the way for much better devices in this category, whether from Microsoft, Apple or Sony.


  9. its finally occurred to the heads at Intel


  10. sorry for the misspelling of Origami, btw. Trusted the $%&__ked up spell checker of a beta editor.


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