Microsoft has completed the third and final week of their “buzz manufacturing” around something called Origami. As I suspected, the “Origami” isn’t a product that Microsoft is making. Instead, its a new platform spectication- the “Ultra Mobile PC” (UMPC). This isn’t a “Microsoft Only” show…no, their old buddies from Intel are also involved in the specification.
Like the Tablet PC specification, Microsoft has written up some standards. Companies like Asus and Samsung can now build a machine to those standards and call it an “UMPC” (or presumably Origami, but I sort of doubt that will catch on) and, presumably, receive some co-marketing help from Microsoft. But remember- Microsoft themselves aren’t making any kind of new device. And each manufacturer’s “UMPC” will different.
The specification itself isn’t super-amazing. It calls for a 2 pound PC with a 7″ touch panel display, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition OS, and integrated WiFi and Bluetooth. Presumably it will be running some sort of mobile Intel processor and have a smallish hard drive. I didn’t find a lot of “meat” regarding processor, memory, or video specifications. Presumably these will all vary based on manufacturer.
I’m going to put on my prognostication hat once again and guess that Asus and Samsung will ship UMPC devices within three months for $1200 US or thereabouts. These devices will run Pentium M processors, have between 512 MB and 1 GB of RAM, and will have 80 GB hard drives. Video will be probably be some sort of low end ATI or NVidia mobile co-processor, but it won’t be anything remotely high end. Battery life will be about four hours. By the end of the year, no one will remember the name “Origami”…