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3/13/2006
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Microsoft's Unveils Its Origami Ultra Mobile PC

But the new Tablet PC running Windows XP is less than revolutionary.

The most interesting thing about Microsoft's Origami is what it turned out not to be. Far from the Transformer gadget hinted at by bloggers and journalists (it changes from iPod to camcorder to computer and back!), the device is just a slightly smaller Tablet PC. Officially unveiled last week, Origami is in a category of devices called Ultra Mobile PCs, which Bill Gates first talked about at WinHEC in April.

The first product is a 7-inch tablet built by Samsung. Like other tablets, it's a full PC with a hard drive and Windows XP. Earlier last week, Intel let attendees at its Developer Forum play with prototypes of even smaller Ultra Mobile PCs. But most didn't recognize them as Origami, because the idea isn't new or revolutionary.

In a post on the Origami blog March 9, one of the project's leaders admitted: "In truth, this category has existed for some time." Microsoft's only original contribution is the Touch Pack software, which simplifies the Windows XP user interface so the touchscreen can be operated with fingers and thumbs, not a stylus. For this we got our blood pressure up?

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