Will iPad deliver the Origami vision?

While anxiously awaiting the Apple tablet, I took a look at the promo video of the original Origami device. Introduced in 2006 by Microsoft, it was an intriguing concept that was supposed to be something between a laptop and a phone.

What happened was what happens to the concept cars that are shown at exhibitions but never make it to production lines without losing their character. Sadly, the actual device failed to live up to the expectations set by the hype that surrounded the project. Just once when Microsoft was able to come up with a catchy name, it was watered to something like ultra mobile personal computer, UMPC. And the device was no better: David Pogue reported that he was actually able to click with it.

And you can “click the mouse” by pressing the Change Resolution button while also pressing the Menu button.

But nothing in this first crop is anything like what Bill Gates envisioned a year ago: a one-pound machine with all-day battery life and a price tag of $500 to $800. That dream, Microsoft admits, is years away.

[4 years, to be more accurate.]

My experiences weren’t any better (in Finnish).


Mockery aside, it’s interesting to see in hindsight that their vision was surprisingly similar to what iPad turned out to be.

YouTube - UMPC, Ultra-Mobile PC - Microsoft Origami

Downloading photos from you camera.

YouTube - Microsoft Origami

Doodling pictures.

YouTube - Microsoft Origami

Using it as a picture frame.

YouTube - Microsoft Origami

Typing with an auxiliary keyboard.

YouTube - Microsoft Origami

Playing games.

YouTube - Microsoft Origami

Using maps.

YouTube - UMPC, Ultra-Mobile PC - Microsoft Origami

And watching videos, of course.

Ironically, the only magazine shown in the video is printed on paper:

YouTube - Microsoft Origami

Recently, Microsoft has been getting attention with a concept called Courier. It takes the ideas even further and relies heavily on advanced text recognition. Let’s hope it won’t take another four years before we see something concrete along these lines.


Otto Berke, who led the design of Haiku tablet concept at Microsoft, has also commented on the iPad. He thinks that it is unsurprising as a product but gives Apple credit for the execution.

With the 7”-display-based Haiku/Origami, I aimed for greater mobility in the tradeoff between mobility and display real estate.

3 kommenttia artikkeliin ”Will iPad deliver the Origami vision?

  1. The topic Will iPad deliver the Origami vision? « köyttöliittymä.net is absolutely new for me, but it sounds very interesting. I will read more about this topic and make me my own opinion. Thanks, Wein Smith

  2. I bought an Origami (specifically an Asus R2H) back on 2007 to be a tool on a trip to a very foriegn land, and it proved an unqualified success for that particular use case.

    * Mapping & GPS with MS Streets & Trips, and the built in GPS receiver
    * WiFi for general internet access at motels & starbucks to allow posting of blog updates, booking motels / travel for the next few days on the road
    * Access to email for all the ususal reasons
    * A repository for digital photos captured on the the trip (my pathetic old camera only has 32MB onboard).
    * A repository for music to listen to on the road

    It proved to be a hugely valuable tool, and worth the investment just as a GPS/Mapping tool. but I on sold it as soon as I returned home, as I very quickly discovered it no longer had a use IRL.

    As an enthusiast for technology (which, to be honest, played a huge role in deciding to buy an UMPC), I now find myself really wanting an iPad. I don’t have a valid use case, like I did with the R2H, but I’m all excited at the prospect, as it feels like it has the potential to deliver the ’wow’ factor that Origami never delivered.

    Complete nonsence, I know, but Apple’s marketing have got me by the short and curlies, damn their rotten souls.


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