Thursday, March 09, 2006

Origami really IS bad. Why?

When I read the NYT preview on Origami, I was sure Microsoft couldn't really be preparing another botched product. I figured after their disastrous slate experience, they wouldn't want to bring another flop to the market.

Then I read the CNET announcement:
Reality check for the much-hyped Origami PC | CNET

Bill Gates' vision of an ultramobile PC seemed like a winner: a device with all-day battery life, yet small enough to fit in a pocket and much cheaper than a laptop.

But as devices begin to come out a year later, reality still trails Microsoft's ambitions. The first generation of devices, being announced Thursday and already featured on Microsoft's site, are bigger, pricier and more power hungry than the software maker had hoped.

Microsoft acknowledges that instead of a mass-market hit riding a wave of prelaunch hype, these devices are likely to appeal only to the most hard-core gadget fans.

... Over the last year, several PC makers have been readying minitablets under the Origami code name. These minitablets are capable of running Windows XP along with a "Windows Touch Pack" that allows the devices to be more easily controlled using fingertip input. Microsoft expects that "gadget geeks" will make up most of the early buyers of the devices, which weigh roughly two pounds, pack a 7-inch screen and cost around $800.
Sounds like the NYT was right. Heavy, expensive, short battery life. It makes zero sense as a product.

This is an iPod video killer?! Either Microsoft is incompetent, or they're trying to poison the marketplace to buy time for a real product. That strategy worked well in the PDA market of the 1990s, but I'm not sure it will work today. I wonder what's in it for Samsung though? Are they taking a hit now in the hope of a payoff a year from now?

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