Microsoft has a bunch of videos up for downloading [via] under the “Origami Architect” title, all of which are totally unrelated except for the one with “origami” in its title (thank heavens for my big, mighty DSL — I don’t even care I downloaded hundreds of megs of WMV for nothing). The video is mostly uneventful and boring, but still manages to make me want to hold one of these. Like Origami architect Otto Berkes states in that video, this is the perfect form factor for casual computing, to surf the web slouching on the sofa.
Most of the information in the video you could get from all CeBIT reports, but I think it’s a nice touch (in a barbaric “it’s a bit ugly but you gotta” way) that you can change the logical video resolution (i.e., the screen still shows 800x480 pixels, but the system thinks there are more, and the graphics are downscaled) to be able to use any program that expects more real estate — most interestingly, Tablet PC programs. So the Origami’s most important advantage is, it just uses a regular tablet-edition XP (or Vista) — and that’s also its major drawback, because that’s hardly exciting to hold between your hands.
Oh, yeah, there’s that special interface. Shiny, eh? Well, it’s just a launcher — a slightly modernized progman.exe. The underlying Windows interface doesn’t change a bit, even though it was never originally designed for this kind of device.
I can’t quite decide whether the launcher’s icons are following the interface’s perspective or they’re just on an orthogonal grid — but, either way, the buttons are ugly, not to mention the icons. Yeah, it’s Windows alright.
Apart from that, the “Touch Pack” that summarizes the extent of Microsoft’s software involvement in the platform (seriously, how is it a Microsoft project? Intel is subsidizing every PC builder under the sun to improve brand awareness, and they accepted to be Microsoft’s lackey on this one?) includes:
an ugly third-party virtual keyboard — according to Engadget, it’s good and effective, although it sure doesn’t look that way on screenshots, but judging from the developer’s site it should be skinnable (oh, and rein your horses, if the screen had multi-touch functionality, they’d certainly have said so)
a dedicated Windows Media Player skin (whoa)
a Sudoku game
miscellaneous “Touch Improvements” to Windows that I imagine to consist of making desktop icons easier to trigger accidentally
and… uh, that’s all.
Yeah. So very exciting. And yet…
And yet the Samsung prototype is teh sexy. Funny what some shiny black plastic will do — with less buttons and lights, and more overall attention to detail, it might as well be made by Apple. Come on. Seriously. Steve. I can’t afford an Apple Origami, and I have no need or use for it, but damn do I ever want one!
And let me reiterate: by the time the Samsung UMPC hits the streets, I give you two months before a bunch of die-hard Applemaniacs make it run OS X if you don’t announce a tablet of your own.
Oh, yeah, because apparently it’s just called a UMPC now — it figures that “Origami” was way too cool a moniker for Microsoft to keep (and it wasn’t very cool to begin with). Wonder what Windows Vista will be called when it’s released and has to shed its project codename.
I’m sorry, I’d want to give Microsoft some slack sometimes (maybe), but they just can’t help being complete doofuses… doofi… uh, fools.
And it seems like Alexandria (like the Bibliotheca) might well be Microsoft’s response to iTunes and the iTMS. Here’s to hoping they screw that one over badly, despite the momentum they’ll be able to garner as soon as they launch, or we’ll be living in a Microsoft media world. Oh, don’t worry — there’s plenty of potential to screw up, I’m sure they can manage.
Funny that the screenshot would feature Law & Order.
Oh my God. The Windows Media Player skin is totally ugly. They’re insane. (And I can’t figure out whether the Sudoku game does have handwriting recognition. But it sure isn’t pretty either.)
And, no, I’m not gonna apologize for disliking Microsoft and maybe even being slightly biased (actually, no, I’m not — I have no prejudice against the Xbox and I’m using a Microsoft trackball on my iMac). I earned it, using their products for ten years. And they amply deserved it, and keep deserving it again and again and again.