Microsoft to Announce Mini-Tablet PCs

On March 2, Microsoft will unveil a mysterious new miniature Tablet PC product family. Code-named Origami (and previously code-named Haiku), the new devices will be the size of a PDA but will include a full Windows OS. I don't know yet whether that OS will be Windows XP Tablet PC Edition or some version of Windows Vista, but my guess is that it will be Vista-based.

Indeed, we know very little about the devices at this point. At the 2005 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), the software giant described Haiku as an "ultra-portable laptop convertible" based on Vista. Microsoft intended this device to showcase how a Tablet PC-enabled version of Windows could be applied to a much wider range of devices than PC makers target today. The device was described as weighing 1 to 2 pounds, having an all-day battery life, and costing from $500 to $1000.

Origami is even more mysterious. It is promoted on an enigmatic Web site called Origami Project, which suggests only that the device will be ultra portable and feature a touch screen (a feature promised for the Tablet PC software in Windows Vista). Currently, the site offers mostly questions, such as "do you know what i can do?" and "do you know ... how i can change your life?"

Here's my take on this: Some of the rumor sites on the underbelly of the Web have been suggesting that Origami might be Microsoft's "xPod," or "iPod-killer." Origami is not that product. Instead, Origami is clearly aimed at pushing the boundaries of the Tablet PC platform and will instead be the long-promised 9" Tablet PC that Microsoft first started touting two years ago. It's just the next version of Haiku.

Link: The Origami Project

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