Will Microsoft Origami be the first UMPC?

Chicago (IL) - A website vaguely describing what could be a handheld device is heating up rumors on the Internet, OrigamiProject.com, registered to Microsoft, is believed to outlined a new approach to generate a product category between the PDA and the Tablet PC, which appears to fit very well into Intel's description of a Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC).

"Hello. Do you know me? Do you know what I can do? And where I can go? Or how I can change your life? You will... learn more on 3.2.06." There's not much what these phrases would reveal. The graphics published on the website add little to the whole pictures, but they have succeeded in giving speculations about rumors about Apple's upcoming announcement a pause.

While the site indicates that there will be more information available later this week, Cnet and PC World are reporting that Microsoft's PR agency does not plan to make any additional information available this week. Sources at Microsoft also indicated that there is no event planned for 2 March.

Microsoft's Richard Scoble recently confirmed the existence of Origami in a recent entry in his blog, saying that it would be a "fairly low-cost" portable device. He also hinted to an article of the Seattle Post Intelligencer, which concluded that 2 March will not see a product release, but most likely "more details" about Origami. Several blogs as well as Engadget are listing pictures of the device and even a video, which, according to Microsoft, are authentic, but may not display the final device.

With several high-profile events - including the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco and the CeBit tradeshow in Hannover, Germany - taking place next week, it's likely that Microsoft may be choosing one of these events to unveil the Origami. Intel is expected to show the first functional versions of its UMPC, which could be the technology platform for Origami.

Sources recently confirmed to TG Daily that the UMPC is on track for a Q1 release. The first generation of UMPCs will be running on Pentium M processors coupled with Intel's 915GMS chipset. Features of the platform will include GPS and WWAN capability as well as a battery stand-by time of about a week. Prices of such mobile PCs, which will be running a full version of Microsoft's Windows Tablet PC operating system, are rumored to come ine at about $500 to $600.

Interestingly, Origami was also the name of a handheld prototype that was shown by National Semiconductor at the Comdex Fall tradeshow in November 2001. The bright orange-colored handheld was shown among a batch of first convertible notebooks and Tablet PCs and never left the prototype stage.