My last word on Microsoft Origami (for now)

So the Microsoft Origami launch has come and gone, and the concensus seems to be: cool machine, but the battery life is too short and it’s a tad too expensive.  I, for one, am crushed.  With all the advantages of Microsoft’s Tablet OS (an extremely awesome piece of software) and the fact that I think people are craving for something that delivers laptop functionality in the Origami form factor, it’s not a bad bet.  There’s a number of reasons I am optimistic about this category:

1. The form factor and connectivity goal is ideal
One of the great stars of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was in fact, the Guide itself.  The Guide was described as a moderately sized book containing everything you needed to know to survive in the Galaxy.  Now tell me that doesn’t fit the description of an Origami-sized device with perpetual Internet connectivity? 

We were enamored by the concept of the Guide, so why not Origami?

2. The hardware makers let Microsoft down, but the concept is sound
Asus’ and Samsung’s hardware is the reason people are down on the concept, not anything about Microsoft’s vision.  Being pricey and having less-than-expected battery life are not Microsoft’s fault.

The last word

People think it’s trendy to hate on Microsoft for not being innovative.  But being innovative doesn’t mean never making mistakes.  This is a lesson I’ve learned from our CEO at work.  He often says, "We need to try things and fail… fast as possible."  You can’t innovate or learn without trying and failing, and Microsoft has been making a run at the handheld/tablet market for a long time.  I believe that in the next 3 years they will have successfully killed the PalmOS on phones, and possibly in the handheld market as well, because the power of their platform is wildly attractive. 

I’m sad to see the Origami devices stumble, but they got pretty close, and I think that I will probably buy one of the second generation devices, once Intel has their way and gets some low power chips into the next round of products.  After all my tablet doesn’t have more than 3 hrs life, and money is less of a concern for me than for most people.


  1. Will on March 13, 2006 at 11:52 am

    You’ve probably already seen this video, but Gizmodo posted a video of the Asus unit in action:

    There isn’t enough footage of the thumb keyboard as I’d like, but I got a good idea of how small the unit is.