Toshiba just says no to Origami


The sleuthing of Hugo Ortega gave us all a glimmer of hope that Toshiba was secretly working on an Origami device and the reaction of consumers was very positive. A lot of people have said that they would feel better about the Origami if one of the major Tablet OEMs stepped up to the plate and released a device. Unfortunately, Toshiba’s Matt Codrington has responded to a comment on Hugo’s blog and the answer is not what we consumers wanted to hear:

I’m sure Dan will agree with me when I tell you that our discussion had many points of reference, and although a device like this is a possible extension of the next mobile platform, I’m not sure it meets a real need? Too heavy to carry in your pocket, and probably can’t be used for extended periods [outside battery life] with a 7″ screen?

So…I hope I’m not going to disappoint your readers when I tell you that although Toshiba is going to continue to be at the leading edge of technology there are no plans to bring an ‘Origami’ type UMPC device to market. Having said that things are always in the works……

It is unfortunate that Toshiba not only won’t be entering the market but based on Matt’s “not sure it meets a real need” comment is not the outlook we consumers wanted to hear about the Origami. Too bad.


Anton P. Nym

It’s all fine and dandy to talk about “innovation” and wonderful new gadgets that would make Origami an [insert product name here] killer, but let’s remember that every bit of innovation and every gadget either costs more money, draws extra power (and throws out extra heat), or both.

Origami seems intended to be lightweight and (if not cheap) affordable; adding a big, beefy battery to power custom-built state-of-the-art small-production-run doohickies just doesn’t fit either design principle. All those standard parts put together are in there for a reason; a 7″ display can piggy-back on DVD player orders, as the drives and processors can from other portables, and so on. Sure, it’d be nice to have a 900g/2lb UMPC with all-day power and a 2GHz processor for $600USD… but it’d also be nice to win the lottery, and your odds are slightly better right now with the lottery. :) If you want to reach that price point, you’ve got to either make huge runs (and take a huge gamble) or use off-the-shelf parts.

The first generation of Origami hasn’t hit a home run with its execution of the design principles, more of a slow roller to be honest… but you can still get on base with a slow roller if you’re fast on your feet. Here’s hoping that the second or third generation can bring ’em home with a light, convenient, affordable, and easy-to-use alternative to the notebook.

— Steve

Hugo Ortega

I must admit that Matt’s non-disclosure was a little mysterious. JK and others have all seen the article I referenced, and we all concede that it should have been a positive announcement and not a negative.

The only sour taste left in my mouth is the negative comments that Matt decided to follow through with.

UMPC is here to stay; I know the current response in Australia has proven overwhelming. I’ll post more conclusive findings shortly!

Keep inkin’


John Lester

Why can’t these OEMs understand that, as a (sometimes mobile) knowledge worker, I haven’t bought a desktop computer for about six years now and doubt that I EVER will again! I buy increasingly smaller laptops and I doubt that I will EVER buy a laptop that weighs much over 2 lbs ever again and I really only want to buy devices about the size of the oQo but have all the functionality of the oQo version 1+ or better.

That’s the leading, bleeding GROWTH edge of this marketplace, and they better get clued in to it OR GET RUN OVER…


I 100% agree with Jeff Gilbert. If OEMs do not see the need is because they are completely blind! :D


well, the need is there. People want something under 2 pounds to carry not a 6 pound laptop. If you ask a Doctor what they would prefer to carry around in a hospital, a Tablet PC or these Origamis they will tell you that they want the Origami. Just because it’s easier to carry. The other point is cost. Many people do not use Tablet PCs just because they were not willing to spend 1400 dollars for tablet pc if they could get a better laptop for less than 1000 dollars. I know that the price of todays origamis is far from being the 500 dollars promised by uncle Bill, but the they when you will buy one of those for less than 800 dollars is not far away, just look at the prices of the TabletKiosk.

Jeff Gilbert

I understand the concern about battery life, but I see a very good future ahead for UMPCs. Connectability and battery life can only improve; it’s the form factor that’s important.

Ever try to take notes on a convertible tablet PC while you’re trying to develop on it? Not sure you want to lug 3+ pounds of machine to a meeting just to take notes? UMPCs, I think, fill a vital role for personal organization that marry the best aspects of tablet pcs (the software and screen) and the best aspects of PIMs (the size, albeit a bit bigger).

Now, consider the UMPCs for business use in the field. Many businesses won’t consider tablets for the field because of their expense, usually $1000+. If we can get the cost down to sub-$500 AND make them less clumsly to lug about, I think we’ll see a dramatic increase in their use for field work.

It’s a mistake for OEMs to lose out on expertise in this area.


“I’m not sure it meets a real need?”

That’s the real issue. Who’s been asking for a product like this? What problem does it solve?

When I first saw a UMPC, it reminded me of the Pepper Pad. Anyone know how well the Pepper Pad is selling?

In line with Scotty’s comment, I’m reminded of one of your prior posts where you commented that one of the most innovative things about the UMPC was a built-in plastic stand on the back. That seems to sum things up nicely.


So far according to all news that I have from TabletKiosk they are getting a lot of preorders and I glad to see that because despite to what some analysts says at the beginning I’m one of those that thinks that Origamis came to stay for a while ;) and they do have a huge market waiting for more to come.


Microsoft has stated repeatedly that the intended audience for the Origami is the consumer workspace. I think that’s a good move to try and garner sales numbers big enough to drive the h/w innovation needed to do the things you are asking for.

We have the OQO and Sony U but neither have made any significant sales numbers because of the high cost to produce a device with the features you are asking for. I believe the decision to produce a low-cost alternatives to the two devices I mentioned above is a sound one. Hopefully the sales numbers will make enough of a difference to get these higher performing h/w components lower in price so we can have the things you want in the Origami.


If Microsoft had spec’d in some fresh, innovative technology that provided some positive consumer advantageous capabilities then perhaps the UMPC could have swayed a major player.

It wouldn’t have killed Microsoft to have spec’d the devices to have:

1.8″ iPod drive. Thinner, smaller, lighter, tougher, lower power, lower heat. Think of it as a Bionic UMPC enhancement. :-)

Wireless USB. If Microsoft had put its weight behind it this could have happened and would have a remarkable impact upon the uses of these Ultra Mobile devices. What can be more positive than being able to cut wires for such a device? Put a WUSB hub on your desk and you can sit on the couch and use your USB devices plugged into that hub.

I don’t know about other consumers but I’m hungry for thinner lighter sexier than any of the UMPC’s have turned out so far.

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