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Summary:

The CIO Tech Informer recently ran an article about the UMPC/ Origami that quoted Dadi Perlmutter, the General Manager of Intel’s Mobility Group.  In the article Perlmutter correctly points out that the big advancements in the Origami line are yet to come, as hardware must mature […]

The CIO Tech Informer recently ran an article about the UMPC/ Origami that quoted Dadi Perlmutter, the General Manager of Intel’s Mobility Group.  In the article Perlmutter correctly points out that the big advancements in the Origami line are yet to come, as hardware must mature to produce the type of device that visionaries dream about.  One statement of Mr. Perlmutter’s that is quoted in the article makes me think that he doesn’t quite understand the market for the UMPC:

For UMPCs to be a success, they must be more than a slimmed-down notebook or large PDA. "If it is going to end up that way, I don’t think it will succeed. It has to be something beyond just an ‘in-between,’ " Perlmutter said.

This statement worries me because I don’t think he understands this particular market segment.  I don’t think the UMPC needs to be beyond a "slimmed-down notebook".  An ultra-mobile PC is exactly what people want so this is not the issue here.  The key element for the Origami’s success is price.  The whole premise behind the UMPC is to penetrate the consumer market, which means retail sales in consumer electronics outlets.  You don’t need a special feature to do that, although with the Tablet PC extensions already on the first generation devices it has a differentiator that makes it stand out.  No, you need a consumer level price point to drive sales numbers.  We already have slimmed-down notebooks and mini-Tablet PCs, but their relatively high price limits the potential market.  Let the price point of Origamis get down to a consumer-friendly level and sit back and watch what happens.  OEMs will sell millions of these devices faster than they can make them.  Don’t make "special" devices, make full Windows XP UMPCs at a cheap price.  That will make them special enough to appeal to the masses.  If you build it cheap enough, they will come.  In droves.

-jk

  1. jk, I am totally with you on the price!! The one time a MS product segment announcement illicit so much rave and buzz was … hmmm … Win95? or XP? … The initial $500 baseline price in my opinion was what generated all the buzz. After all, notebooks with similar or identical functionality, size and *better* battery life already exist. The main and possibly only reason why there was so much buzz was the lower baseline price.

    If Intel, MS or Origami OEMs knew better, they would shoot for $500~$600 Origami and worry about fulfillment problem, than continue their $1k pricetag.

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  2. Don’t kid yourself… Dadi Perlmutter and everyone else at Intel for that matter, knows that price and battery life are the most important hurdles right now.

    The problem is that they need to point to everything else because originally the origami devices were supposed to run on non-Intel cpus. The choice to use Intel is actually adding a significant bump in the price. That’s not something Intel wants to draw attention to, so they talk about value-added and market segment distinctions.

    Personally, I agree with you completely. While there is much to do in the area of adding value to these devices above what a notebook can do, the incredible buzz about them was that we were talking about a great tablet device for $500 range and a handy size. That’s something to get excited about.

    Value added over existing top of the line tablets made to this size is not the funky software and the corner keyboard. It’s the price tag, plain and simple. It’s just not what the more expensive Intel wants anyone to think about.

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  3. A quick reality check… I’m about to make the SFO to HKG hop again in a week, what am I taking?

    A full 60GB 5G iPod, a well stocked Sony eBook reader and a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones. In-flight power will be courtesy of Energizer e2 Lithium batteries, United being a bit behind the times on emPower.

    The UMPC’s don’t have the battery life/screen clarity and weigh/cost more than the Sony/iPod combined.

    Other than a few online web pages I haven’t encountered any buzz for these devices. No one has come up and asked “Scotty have you got your UMPC on order?” For several weeks after the Tablet PC was launched I had 3 to 4 people a day asking me “Scotty, have you got your Tablet PC on order?”

    Right now everyone I know is excited about the Apple Tablet aka iTablet. The excitement for that device, at the grass roots level, is far in excess of anything I’ve seen for the UMPC. Everyone wants the “Minority Report” UI that it is rumored to contain. They want the sexy case, they want the bright crystal clear display.

    The amusing part of course being that Steve has promised none of this, yet so many balance on the edge of their seats with their carefully paid up credit cards clutched eagerly in one hand.

    People are hungry for new and fresh, the UMPC delivers neither. Apple has promised nothing but everyone expects new and fresh from them.

    The pressure on Steve has to be beyond what is needed to produce diamonds. He’s either going to crack or something exciting is going to result right? :-)

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  4. hey, if the iTablet comes in at $500, I’ll get one. ;)

    I’ll use it as an ebook reader! :D

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