The much hyped Microsoft's Origami Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) has been formally announced yesterday. Everyone knows how Microsoft has been building hype around this new device, but they couldn't really keep the secret and by the time the announcement was made, we had a pretty good idea what this new device is going to be.
Origami is an ultracompact, wireless-enabled PC that is everything a full computer or laptop is, minus the keyboard. Weighing about 2 1/2 pounds, the 1-inch thick device sports a 7-inch touch-sensitive screen that responds to a stylus or the tap of a finger. It runs Windows XP Tablet PC edition, will support up to 60GB storage at the initial launch with battery life of 2.5 hours. It supports, of course, both Bluetooth and WiFi. The first Origami devices will come from Samsung and ASUS.
There has been skepticism as for the use of such device (look at the Talkback section of a News.com article), but personally I think I'll use it everyday. I will use it at home sitting on my bed, at work during meetings, or on a plane watching movies. I don't want to use a PDA for this because its screen is too small, and I don't want to use my laptop because it's too big.
Most of the features announced were no surprise, but I really like the Dial Keys feature, which splits a standard QWERTY keyboard into pie shapes on the lower corners of the screen so that input can typed — or thumbed in.
One thing that surprised me was the fact that it is a flat device. Because of the name, everyone thought it would be a folding device. I think that would have been cool because I know how screens can get all messy when there's no protection - especially touchscreens.
All in all, I am excited at this new device. I only wish it had more battery life so that I can use this for short trips without having to recharge - 8 to 10 hourse will do it. I also hoped that it were even lighter, like 1~1.5lbs. I wouldn't mind having a plasticky device that I can throw around. As long as it is cheap enough, that is:)
By the way, now that Microsoft is out with a cool gadget, when is Apple going to come back to this market? I'm sure they're still recovering from their failure with Newton, but come on, everyone's rooting for ya!