Intel’s Mobility Group Chief almost understands the Origami

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

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