Origami – a disaster?

The Inquirer, largely regarded as a go-to publication in the UK, has published a scathing review of the Origami / UMPC after reviewing three of them.


I’ve been trying to avoid publishing every article that bashes the Origami / UMPC concept. I don’t think that is productive and good for the platform in general. While I don’t agree with a lot of the language used in this particular review and wouldn’t call the UMPC launch a “disaster”, I do agree with them on a number of points. 1) this is the beginning, 2) there is alot of work to be done, 3) The UI needs to be re-thought through (think Media Center), 4) technological advances and pricing will make this a more attractive “take anywhere device”

Correctly, they recognize the market for such a device and offer up two things that need to happen for them to succeed:

Microsoft has been here before, with ideas like Windows CE, pen computing, and more recently, tablet PCs. Some of those projects have worked out better than others. But they’ve all required trial and error, much of which has been carried out by the hapless early adopters, and not by Microsoft.

The companies manufacturing UMPCs now are doing it to gain experience. They hope that the concept will take off eventually, and they will then be ahead of the pack.

Two things have to happen to make the Origami UMPC dream succeed. First, Microsoft should actually do what it claims to know best: write good software that meets users’ requirements. The current one-size-fits all approach isn’t right for UMPCs.

That’s tough, but the second step is even tougher. The UMPC really needs a lot of technological progress. Lighter, more efficient batteries would change everything. In the interim, new low-power components, like white LED screen backlights, and flash-based hard drives, will help too.


Update: I incorrectly called The Inquirer, The Register in my original post – my mistake ( and a bad one at that!).