Microsoft | Origami Project prototype

October 28, 2010

SlashGear | Microsoft’s Origami campaign came in for both praise and criticism, and while they can’t claim to entirely control the UMPC (or subsequent MID) markets they were at least initially responsible for promoting ultramobile PCs. Now Microsoft has decided to shut down their official Origami project site, three years after it was founded.

According to the official Origami Team Blog, the sites closure has been precipitated by their realization that “we cannot cover all current mobile computing topics in a single site.”  No word on whether the existing content (tutorials, guides and other editorials) will remain available after that.

Wikipedia | An ultra-mobile personal computer or UMPC is a small form factor version of a pen computer, a new class of laptop whose specifications were launched by Microsoft and Intel in spring 2006. Sony had already made a first attempt in this direction in 2004 with its Vaio U series, which was however only sold in Asia. UMPCs are smaller than subnotebooks, have a TFT display measuring (diagonally) about 12.7 to 17.8 cm, and are operated like tablet PCs using a touchscreen or stylus. There is no clear boundary between subnotebooks and ultra-mobile PCs.

The first-generation UMPCs were simple PCs running Linux or an adapted version of Microsoft’s tablet PC operating system. With the announcement of the UMPC, Microsoft dropped the licensing requirement that tablet PCs must support proximity sensing of the stylus, which Microsoft termed “hovering.”

Second-generation UMPCs use less electricity and can therefore be used longer (up to five hours) and also support Windows Vista. Originally codenamed Project Origami, the project was launched in 2006 as a collaboration between Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, and a few others. Despite prediction of the demise of UMPC device category according to CNET, the UMPC category appears to continue to be in existence, however, it has largely been supplanted by tablet computers as evidenced by the introduction of Apple iPad, Google Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, and Nokia’s MeeGo.

SlashGear | “Microsoft Origami site to fold by end of April” — April 20, 2009
Ars Technica | “iPad vs. netbook: direct cannibalization and collateral damage September, 2010