Thursday, March 09, 2006

Microsoft Origami - first thoughts

Well ... it's been fun watching the media uproar, and the debates over the hype about the Microsoft Origami device. I has also been fun to see the product announced and in the press. It was fun since we at Agilix Labs had one here at our facility for quite some time prior to the leaks. We've been tweaking our GoBinder code to ensure that our Tablet PC applications work on this new device.

So what do I think about the UMPC/Origami device? I actually like it! Yes, like many people are saying, this is a mini-Tablet PC type of device. There is nothing earth shattering about it that I know of right now, but I do want to buy one for my three year old son. He has been using my HP Tablet PC for quite a while now, and is becoming very adept at navigating the user interface, and easily switching from mouse to stylus. I have really been thinking about what I buy him to use ... or do I give him my old laptop as I upgrade? What about a PlayStation Portable? Oh ... what about the $100 Laptop Project?

My laptop is too large for my son. The PSP? It's still $250.00 and doesn't have half of the capabilities nor features. The $100 Laptop? Way too limited in my opinion in that it lacks the breadth of application support ... and isn't yet available. A Tablet PC? No ... too expensive today.

In my opinion the key is going to be the price point of these new Origami devices. When I can buy a device like this for the ~$600+ I have a hard time considering anything else. It runs a standard operating system (and might even support Linux!) and brings the full breadth of application support. It'll run games, and provide Internet connectivity. It'll have Bluetooth and integrate with cell phones.

I'm not saying that this product is going to kill the $100 Laptop Project ... that will always have it's place. But in more affluent societies where some extra money can be spent it seems to me that the Origami is addressing a real market. This is the place between the PDA/PSP types of devices, and the laptop/Tablet PCs.

So I'll probably buy one for my son. Will I buy one? I think that I might buy one for myself ... just to experiment as a platform for new applications. Religion aside, when Microsoft and Intel (and Samsung, and ASUS, and ...) get behind something they are going to create a new market. I do believe that for software developers, there is going to be a whole new generation of applications for this platform.


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