Microsoft Origami: “Too revolutionary” Sam 14 Apr 2006

41 comments Latest by Alan

Price, Interface Dampen 'Origami' PC Debut

'Origami' Stumps CEOs in Jobs-Style Presentation

Overpriced, underwhelming, cumbersome: pick three.

41 comments so far (Jump to latest)

JF 14 Apr 06

“Look, we put so much PC into this little device that it takes two people to hold it! It is heavy with technology!”

Martin 14 Apr 06

It also doesn’t help that they look repulsed by it. “Take it please. Get it out of my sight.”

How are we supposed to embrace Origami when the guys trying to tell us it’s the next best thing look like they are too afraid to hold the damn thing?

Maybe it is too revolutionary; it’s got a mind of its own and its trying to kill them.

kevin 14 Apr 06

i almost feel bad for them after reading the stories.

good intensions, bad execusion.

Gary R Boodhoo 14 Apr 06

You know, I’d have no problems with the form factor if only it was soft & firm like flesh, and not so rigid & unyielding. Maybe even warm to the touch so I could snuggle with it. I have the same problem with every PDA or tablet I’ve ever used. The tactile sensation of slick hardness makes using them unpleasant (for me anyway)

Adam 14 Apr 06

You guys would bash anything Microsoft. At least this is great user testing on this idea and if it fails, someone else can come along and make a good version from the lessons learned. I don’t mind Microsoft to be the guinea pig sometimes, lord knows they can handle the risk of doing something like this.

Rich 14 Apr 06

The expression on there faces says it all especially the one on the far right and the one second from left.

JohnV 14 Apr 06

Gary - regarding the size and tactile feel of the device: Apple’s Newton Messagepad 2100 had a somewhat similar form factor and had a semi-rubberized case. It’s nowhere near the “fleshy” softness you seek, but I do think that something as simple as altering the case material can make a difference in how it feels to use a device. (IE keeping it from slipping when holding it with one hand, or to keep it from sliding around while it’s propped on your lap etc.)

Drew Pickard 14 Apr 06

You guys would bash anything Microsoft. At least this is great user testing on this idea and if it fails, someone else can come along and make a good version from the lessons learned. I don�t mind Microsoft to be the guinea pig sometimes, lord knows they can handle the risk of doing something like this.

Well, it’s just sad to see people try to hype what is obviously a bad product with no target market and no problem it solves.

How is it revolutionary?
It’s a laptop smashed into a smaller package, with none of the technology improved or re-thought.
It’s a gigantic hiptop, a monsterous smart phone.
Or, at worst, a completely retarded laptop.

User testing isnt releasing a product you have doubts about and seeing if it flies. That’s a waste of the company’s time and money.

I just see it as Microsoft getting some hair-brained idea and leading Sumsung and Intel along by the nose.

Even though Microsoft has seemingly bottomless pockets, frivolous wastes of time are still frivolous wastes of time.

Noah 14 Apr 06

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

RE: good intensions, bad execusion.

No kidding, that’s the story of MS…

Phil 14 Apr 06

The next gen one looks more better size wise….but without a keyboard that flips under its still mostly useless to me.

meh 14 Apr 06

I’ll still get one

Nick 14 Apr 06

Pity. Origami is such a great name to waste on what should have been called “Tablet PC Hype 2.0 Professional Edition Plus”

Splashman 14 Apr 06

First I want to LMAO. Then I want to cry. But then I go back to LMAO.

After reading the articles, it’s clear the CEOs don’t even believe in the product. They tacitly admit it’s a hard sell, and their sales pitch is limited to defensive statements.

How on earth did this product ever see the light of day?

indi 14 Apr 06

sad but funny … I’m conflicted.

The execs’ mishaps remind me a bit of when a camera Steve Jobs was using in a keynote demo wouldn’t work and it turned out to be the battery. As I recall he threw at at someone.

As for the origami itself, I’ll try one out and judge for myself, but I also suspect it’s just a wasted cool name.

Gary R Boodhoo 14 Apr 06

John V - ah, the Newton :) Although not without problems, I liked a lot about that machine and am curious what a hypothetical Newton, circa 2006 would be like. I felt the size & heft of the thing were appropriate, and you’re right about the casing - I’d forgotten that it felt nice to touch.

The one Origami feature I find intriguing is the dual thumb keypad. Having never used it, I can’t speak for how usable it is, but the idea seems both cool & practical. Judging from how many users enter text into their phones (with both thumbs), and from how the Origami device is held, it seems like a reasonable data entry solution.

Edmundo 14 Apr 06

I pick just one: Ugly!

SS 14 Apr 06

Gary, a quote from the first article:

The Q1 has drawn special attention during exhibitions for its innovative, dial-shaped, on-screen virtual keyboard, which users can use typing with their thumbs. However, even Samsung developers play it down, saying they are doubtful it could be as useful as it looks.
“You can write a short message on the on-screen keyboard. But it is not suitable when making lengthy documents,” said Park Sung-joon, a Samsung developer who demonstrated the product during the press conference. “The most skilled developer in our team could type just 100 characters per minute. Some people can type more than 500 characters on their cell phones.”

Gary R Boodhoo 14 Apr 06

SS - yeah, I’d seen that quote. I’m curious why the data entry rate should be so low compared to a mobile phone. No predictive text input? Key placement & size? Learning curve?

Olav 14 Apr 06

A great quote from the presentation, after they failed to demonstrate some of the features:

“This kind of mistake happens in every presentation, even though you practice it all night”

Seems like an intuitive product indeed!

Dallas Pool 14 Apr 06

Almost reminds me of the BSOD that Gates got demonstrating windows 98… too bad for these guys.

LukeP 14 Apr 06

So much for the affordable pricetag.

The upside of this failing in the market is that the idea will hopefully be taken and improved upon (vastly, i hope) by other brands until something better, cleaner and cheaper pops outta the factories.

The teaser movie showed some apparant benefits of the ideal product, it’s just that MS came up short on that goal. I’m still holding onto my cash for now…

RyanA 15 Apr 06

The first thing that comes to mind is a quote in Getting Real “Be An Executioner” by Derek Sivers of CD Baby:

“The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.”

I’m personally waiting for Apple’s take on the Tablet PC (I’m hoping they’ll partner with Wacom as they produce top notch products, too). Most of you probably have read about it last year but for those who haven’t; check this out:

I’ll be first in line for one of those, thanks!

RyanA 15 Apr 06

Oh and I just noticed that there is a Part II to that link I posted above. It’s a patent about using hand guestures and the like…


Joe 15 Apr 06

Lol, sounds like Boodhoo wants some sort of pornographic device!

Check out this video of new features in MS Vista, only somebody has replaced the video with Mac OS X’s existing features to coincide with the audio. Truly makes MS look pathetic in their lack of innovation.

Joe 15 Apr 06

Here’s a longer version of the video:

colinm 15 Apr 06

All the hype leading up to Origami did turn out to be pretty disappointing. I was actually excited about it until they finally revealed what it was.

“Holy crap, let’s take two niche products and combine them into an even less useful, more unwieldy device!”

What’s especially interesting to me is they essentially just cloned an existing product�the Oqo�with a slightly lower price point. A product which, while definitely a niche product, is infinitely better designed than any of the “new and innovative” Origami devices, which are somehow thicker while managing to discard useful features like the keyboard.

I know Microsoft is trying to position UMPCs as mass market technology, but its design seems more suited to industrial use (where companies are already happy with tablets or Palm- or Windows-based PDAs from the likes of Symbol with industry-specific features). You can comfortably hold a tablet PC or a PDA in a lecture hall or meeting to take notes on; I can’t see doing that with a UMPC, even though higher ed students are an area they’re trying to hit with the beginning of their marketing.

Danno 15 Apr 06

500 characters per minute on a cellphone?

Cripes, I can barely do that on a keyboard.

A shame, the initial video looked like it had some pretty good ideas: Like a coordinator/wireless acccess point for your different digital interaction needs.

Joshua Bloom 15 Apr 06

You know this is starting to be like picking on the fat kid.
Albeit an extremely rich fat kid.

brad 15 Apr 06

This and the tablet PC both strike me as solutions in search of a problem. What’s wrong with PDAs, cellphones, and laptops?

Carsten 16 Apr 06

Ah Apple, Microsoft at it’s worst…

For me Origami is a bit what I’m waiting for. A device to store my pictures on, have a look at them, maybe even do some touch up. Currently I’d have to buy some special image storing device, which can’t do anything else. Or use a laptop, which is too big for me.

Yeah, I think UMPC is a great idea and if no one else has the courage and MS has (Apple didn’t) it’s ok with me. As it is almost normal PC/Laptop technology it won’t take long to run Linux on these anyway…

Marco Raaphorst 16 Apr 06

The guy at the right had one for lunch and didn’t seem to like it.

Douglas 16 Apr 06

> This and the tablet PC both strike me as solutions in search of a problem.

So were lasers.

Tom Greenhaw 16 Apr 06

The only thing new about the original Origami concept is the price point - and its unclear that there will be enough volume to get even that under $1000. These are basically Toshiba Librettos and haven’t they been around for almost 10 years?

I do disagree with the Tablet PC haters though, there are a number of valid applications where tablets are fantastic. If you haven’t used OneNote you won’t get it; its like people who don’t have Tivo don’t get it.

Luis Bender 17 Apr 06

What I find revolutionary is the “One Laptop per Child” project. Check at This can really change the world.

beto 17 Apr 06

Well, it�s just sad to see people try to hype what is obviously a bad product with no target market and no problem it solves.

I don’t know why this quote seems to evoke so many “Web 2.0” startups to me…coincidence? I think not.

Michael S. 17 Apr 06

Only partially related, by why do online newspapers insist on using double-backticks as opening quotes? Don’t we already have a symbol for that? What was it..oh right, the opening quotation mark. I find it distracting because it takes up so much space. Is there any use for this?

Mark 17 Apr 06

Help me make an acronym for Origami:

Overpriced Ridiculous Infomation/Gaming Accessory, Mostly Ignorable

Shawn Oster 17 Apr 06

Personally I love it. A PDA is too small and limiting, a Tablet is too big and I don’t need that bulk. A 7” touch screen with wifi is pretty much perfect for me. I dislike people taking notes on a normal laptop during meetings, too distracting and too easy to hide behind yet taking notes on a PDA feels like you’re doing something dirty, like you’re trying to hide because you have to hunch around this little device.

james 05 May 06

“meh 14 Apr 06
I�ll still get one”

that had to be a Microsoft employee trying to save the day. ( :)) )

Alan 24 Jun 06

It is not too revolutionary it misses entirely what the mass mobile users want. That is a touch type keyboard computer that will fit in your pocket yet not compromise a real touch type keyboad. Ideal size would be about 3.5 to 4” by 7” to 7.5” by less than 1” inch thick. Because the hardware is not what we want then only geeks wanting a new trendy device will buy and then price etc. are issues becuase people just want a real keyboard input and they want it small enough not to carry a Man purse. Somebody should just redesign/copy the old Psion 5mx using this OS