Saturday, May 06, 2006

Origami / UMPC

What is Origami?

Origami is the code name for the project to make Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC). UPMC is designed to be the next best product coming out for mobile computing. Interestingly, Origami is a Japanese word for paper folding. This art involves folding the paper in a skilled way and giving it a meaningful shape. Wonder how this technology got the name from an art of Japanese history. Does it mean that the device will be able to perform any feature with human interaction, just as how a paper can be given any shape by skillful human actions?

Does any company own this project?

This project is owned by Microsoft, which will create the operating system for the platform. Others also involved in this project are the OEM partners of Microsoft who will create the hardware. Notable among them is Samsung.

What is an Ultra Mobile PC?

Ultra-Mobile PC is a very compact device including a maximum of 7 inches screen size diagonally. It can support display settings of 800x480, 800x600, and 1024x600. This is not a limitation but will depend from Manufacturer to Manufacturer. This device will have features like touch screens and blue tooth for inputs and connectivity respectively. It will run the Microsoft XP Tablet PC Edition and support most applications running on Windows XP. The battery life of the device is expected to be 2.5 hours (may differ between manufacturers).

How is this going to change my life?

Life will no longer be the same after Origami / UMPC. It will give a whole new meaning to mobile computing. Although PCs embedded in mobile phones help to a certain extent, but application access on such phones is still challenging. In my opinion, UPMC will enable an average laptop user to do more than 95% of his work on the new device. And the size of the new device is just too convenient to carry along in small packages. Special benefit for ladies who can carry it in their handbags. Men may need bigger pockets if they need to keep their hands free J. It can possibly be used as a portable media player. I love the thought of being able to access my data at all times from wherever I am. A UMPC with a high speed wireless network encompassing towns and cities, like Google did it for San Francisco, will be a dream come true. Will this device make us lazier?

How can I get it?

The hardware manufacturers will start shipping the first UPMCs by second quarter of 2006. I understand that the OS has also have been tested and ready to use. The price of a UPMC is expected to be in the range of $800 to $1200.
In fact as I write this article Samsung has already announced its first UPMC by the name Q1, which will be available at Best Buy. They are in the pre-order mode and will start shipping in June. The configuration of this device would be a Celeron M ULV processor, 512 MB RAM, 40 GB Hard Disk, USB and Bluetooth. This device will be priced at around $1100. There are some who believe that the processing power provided in this device of 900 MHz is not good enough and Samsung could have opted for a faster processor.

Another UMPC maker TabletKiosk is also expected to ship their product called eo v7110 by June. It would be interesting to review more models as they release to check out the new features being offered by them.


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