Origami officially unveiled

Microsoft touts its new "Ultra-Mobile PC" as having gaming capabilities, but is short on detail; hardware specs promise basic PC game support.

Microsoft has spent the last several weeks hyping its so-called "Project Origami." As is the company's wont, it has used a teaser campaign centered on a cryptic Web site, www.origamiproject.com, which used a combination of informal language and highfalutin design to hint that, yes, something big--and apparently mobile--was on the horizon.

Gamers' interest in Project Origami was piqued by a conveniently leaked video, which showed an excitable youth playing Halo on what looked like a Microsoft handheld. Since the video showed the device as supporting a graphically intense, full 3D version of Bungie's best-selling shooter, it raised the prospect that the software giant would soon be competing with Sony's PSP and Nintendo's DS in the portable market.

Surprisingly, Microsoft actually admitted the leaked video was legit. However, it also admitted it was a year-old concept video and that all the functionality on display was for demonstration purposes only. That was especially true for the Halo footage, which a source close to the company claimed was merely included because it was a Microsoft-owned property.

Well today, Microsoft confirmed widespread reports that the Origami Project was indeed an "Ultra-Mobile PC" (UMPC), not a portable version of the Xbox, as some had thought. Touting it as "a new category of mobile devices for consumers and businesses alike," the Washington-based software colossus unveiled the first UMPC models at the Cebit technology expo in Hannover, Germany.

Initially, three hardware partners--Asus, Founder, and Samsung--will manufacture UMPCs. The general form factor will weigh in at around two pounds and will have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality. Each will come with an internal hard drive of between 30GB and 60GB and will sport a 7-inch touch-sensitive WGA screen. According to GameSpot sister site CNET News.com, the only price point announced was for Samsung's first-quarter UMPC, which will have a 900MHz Intel Celeron processor and will retail for around $1,200. However, another News.com report hinted that other UMPCs would retail for around $800.

As for gaming, Microsoft's official UMPC site does tout the UMPC's media capabilities. It says the devices can "synchronize with your primary PC and take your music, photos, and TV shows anywhere you go." It also hints that Microsoft is planning some sort of premium download service by saying that consumers can "buy music and movies and download them wirelessly." Indeed, one of the partners on the UMPC site is Movielink, the pay-per-view movie download site cofounded by Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., and, ironically, Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Microsoft also makes much of the fact that UMPCs offer "a new way to play" games. "Enjoy PC and Internet games in new ways with touch, stylus, or hardware controls," boasts the UMPC site. However, the only game the site displays appears to be one of the puzzle games embedded into Windows XP, which UMPCs run the tablet PC variant of. No mention is made of a graphics processing unit or what kind of games the first batch of UMPCs can handle.

Inquires sent to Microsoft about the various UMPCs' gaming capabilities were unanswered as of press time. But given that budget-priced, GPU-less Windows XP laptops from several years ago can run less graphically demanding games such as Civilization III, it is well within the realm of possibility that even basic UMPCs can as well.

Written By

Discussion

223 comments
blackguitar314
blackguitar314

It's gonna bomb. The price tag is crazy, you can get a laptop for that price- almost. I think they should just create a portable xbox- gamers want games, not portable computers.

ThieveryCo
ThieveryCo

Looks nice... but not for me ! I am a GAMER !

Dunmer_Lord
Dunmer_Lord

ummm.... yeah a touch screan, handheld, screen scratchable, probably slow, less spacious, less possibilities, probably more expensive then a PSP, Microsoft Handheld... not ginna work.

Raptor123
Raptor123

Actually.....sounds pretty cool to me. I'll just stick to my laptop though. Doesnt seem like it could possibly have good specs though

fox3586
fox3586

This thing will be out of date before it even comes out.

johnathan111
johnathan111

that is a new revlution just waiting to be started

gamespotr0cks
gamespotr0cks

I'll stick with NIntendo DS & $ony PSP. So does this thing come with free Digital Rights Management (DRM) included? You know Micro$oft is really hot on keeping no-no software from being installed or used on their systems. Wonder what kind of restrictions the file transfer will have built into it??

ordinateur
ordinateur

This thing exists because microsoft cannot stands that nintendo made a touch-screen portable system before them...

cheesytaco69
cheesytaco69

I don't like the look. EVEN IF it plays Halo... I'll stick the Xbox.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

The thing in the picture isn't the only UMPC device that you'd see available on the market. Go to gear.ign.com & see more other UMPC as well as the concept ones from Intel - one of them is really small enough to be 'portable'. All these UMPCs has touchscreen for both stylus & fingers, as well as a physical keyboard in some of the UMPCs. One really novel interface is the keyboard buttons represented as icons on a pair of quarter-circle diagrams on the bottom corners of the screen so that you can type texts! I know that the success of the new thing is uncertain even for me, but didn't anybody realise that they're running on the full Windows XP OS, & could even be capable of running MAC OS X & Linux? You see that the PDAs has different trimmed-down OSes on them while these UMPCs can run the full versions. This means that just about any applications that runs on the desktop computers are capable of running on the UMPCs. Large 7/8-inch, horizontal screens > vertical screens on the PDAs - very good for viewing videos. And you know what the blend of portability & full OS versions mean for the UMPCs? Run emulators of the old console systems & play games on the large screen with the game-like buttons, play turn-based strategy PC games like Warlords, Heroes of Might & Magic, Disciples, Civilization, racing games, etc. Maybe you can even play real-time strategy like AOE 2, Warcraft 3, etc with the stylus on one hand & your other hand on the number & other keys. This could be a good way to play wireless competitions against your friends & not have to play inside a gaming cafe! Let's not forget the fact that it supports Wi-Fi, GPS on the go, & Bluetooth & more to come on the roadway. Thus, I believe that UMPCs could eventually overtake PDAs & compete directly with the laptop computers due to its portability factor. Though, I don't think that it'll put a heavy dent into the smart/hybrid phone market. I think many of you may be surprised by next year. It's just because stuffing a fast CPU & in the near-future a GPU chip inside a UMPC is now possible whereas in the past, the PDAs were restrained by low-speed CPUs.

lam_jeremy
lam_jeremy

too expensive for a pda.................. psp can do the media and games, othher can be done by a ppc...........so, i buy all that, and what does it cost me?

Wangtang32000
Wangtang32000

probably cost as much as a computer ( i bet $2 dollars)

akessle1
akessle1

They had the screen with it playing Halo. That is retarded. Like the DS playing Half-Life 2

Mother-Beef
Mother-Beef

i wish they would make a portable xbox! come on microsoft!!

cdmoore74
cdmoore74

As I'm typing on my $378 HP laptop walmart Christmas special, I see this as a waste of money.

mossess
mossess

Ciekaw jestem kiedy zobaczymy tą nowinę na wp. Pewnie nie prędko. Sorry for the language.

jackassultima
jackassultima

I'll just keep my AV500 and laptop, coz this gadget is neither as portable as my archos, or as useful as my laptop. It's a pretty useless gadget really. People will only buy it for the same reason people buy an iPod - they don't understand the concept of alternative products.

guitarfreak846
guitarfreak846

meh $1200? ya and for the specs i gotta say, 900mhz processor? ya, il stick with a laptop

lilazn_boi
lilazn_boi

800$ just to play halo!!! u should just stick to a 150$ xbox...

tmacyao111
tmacyao111

Looks crappy for one good reason. It is not going to succeed.

japanesegoth
japanesegoth

wow....if it's really that expensive you might as well just get a laptop..they'd be more capable...and less stupid looking.

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

With $1,200 I can get build myself a killer PC, I don't think this nifty lil gadget will catch on, but what the hell do I know, I myself might get it.

kench1994
kench1994

i don't think that thing will sell at all. It's way too big. There is no way i am getting one of these. yeah, it might be cool to have, but it doesn't look very durable either.

umaque
umaque

**** MICROSOFT YOU"S fuking bich

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I won't be getting it, but it looks nice.

alex_bateman
alex_bateman

For the people concern about the looks and if thats the only thing u care about is fashion and style of a pc like apple you are total idiots computers shouldn't be praised for style and fashion they should be praised for things like being user friendly.

starwarsyoda
starwarsyoda

if it was a portable xbox, maybe. but just a giant pda. id rather buy a laptop. it cant even fit in you pocket.

Merl57
Merl57

looks like a clunker just a weak laptop imo

Myugenjin
Myugenjin

If anyone hasn't allready stated this there are allready many different PC's like this which are even more smaller to fit in your pockedt and they have 1-2ghz processors with USB/Firewire ports. all for $700 bucks

Jean_rainier
Jean_rainier

lol looks massive,and theres no keyboard meaning ittl be even bigger....id stick to my laptop for a portable pc....and psp for portable gaming,music and movies...

orestes007
orestes007

Se ve bien pero.... no parece portable y muy cara mejor una lap top

CSDV
CSDV

Microsoft patened all modern computer soft and hardware which runs in the billions. Leave gaming development and concepts to the pro's.

exclusiveburner
exclusiveburner

It looks pretty cool, i dont think they should release it with windows xp and use Vista instead when that becomes available My question is will it perform good? Specs dont look exactly good at all so if your gonna spend alotta money u might as well by a laptop correct?

fmcuk
fmcuk

For those who were waiting for portable Halo.... HA! ...... I feel sorry for EGM's Shoe, he possibly thought this was going to be the real DS killer.... yeah, sure....

pheww
pheww

oooook. what use do i have for an oragami

Pastehunter
Pastehunter

Too much for too litle , it wont take on the PSP or DS , and I dont think it will be a big S*** , its only a palm .

ufopuller
ufopuller

That thingy is hugh - portable?

peterzhao333
peterzhao333

Sounds Interesting but let's wait and see how it goes.

Fatality4u
Fatality4u

My thought is to keep my laptop for games.

MoodyFlame
MoodyFlame

i have to agree woth discipleofsin, this is just a gadget, no more no less