Yesterday at Cebit was the first time the Origami devices were officially revealed to the public. There were a total of three devices from Samsung, Asus, and Founder. These new devices are being labeled as Ultra Mobile PC or UMPC, and it is intended to fit between the PDA and a laptop. Microsoft and Intel are the biggest supporters of these devices, with Intel saying that they will improve UMPC performance by a factor of 10 over the next 5 years. Not a surprise seeing how Intel is trying to dominant the mobile market. As per Microsoft, itâ€™s fairly obvious why they would want UMPC devices to take off.
Even with the big names behind these new devices, weâ€™re still very skeptical that they can succeed in their current form. The devices are too large to carry around in your pocket and the battery life is still too short. The virtual keyboard, although very cool seems to be unpractical because it covers a large area of the screen and forget Blackberry thumb, typing on this new device looks like it extends your thumbs even more.
These devices have a better chance convincing laptop users to switch, instead of PDA users ditching their Blackberrys or Treos. But even laptop users would have to decide carefully if they want to make the switch. Price consideration would be the first obstacle, estimates for these new devices are in the $1000+ range which would make them pointless because you can get more power and functionality in a laptop for that price. Heavy word processing which is stereotypical for laptop users would be another issue because the virtual keyboard cannibalizes the screen.
We may be harsh on the devices but weâ€™re not going to write-off UMPCs just yet. The first generation of these devices seem like they are inevitable to become losers but with Intel and Microsoft throwing so much money behind UMPCs they may get it right further down the road.
Below are some pictures of the Origami devices …