Redmond (WA) – A Microsoft spokesperson told TG Daily this afternoon that a video leaked through the Web site of Microsoft’s North American advertising agency, Digital Kitchen LLC, apparently showing a prototype of a Windows-based portable handheld device attributed to the company’s ongoing Origami Project, is too old to reveal pertinent or current details of the project.
“While Origami is a concept we’ve been working on with partners,” the spokesperson wrote, “please know that the video seen on Digital Kitchen’s web site is a year old and represents our initial exploration into this form factor, including possible uses and scenarios.” In coming weeks, however, Microsoft will be eager to reveal further details, the spokesperson continues, “so stay tuned.”
The video – the version of which TG Daily obtained was without sound – depicts ordinary people using the prototype Origami unit in a wide variety of everyday circumstances. Users are shown making handwritten e-mails, downloading videos, locating themselves using geographic positioning, and apparently
Screenshots from the leaked ‘Origami’ video, which Microsoft now says was produced by the ad agency Digital Kitchen last year.
interfacing with other digital equipment, such as a digital camera, as well as another PC. Although it’s likely the prototypes weren’t actually operational, at times they appeared to present a Windows XP-like front end, resembling today’s Tablet PC editions of Windows.
However, the Treo-like controls deployed on the prototype had no clearly defined purpose, at least insofar as the actors in the video were concerned. The effect was a little reminiscent of Star Trek since the 1980s, where actors would press completely arbitrary locations on a black plywood, and the special effects artists added graphic embellishments dubbed “Okudagrams” in post-production. In the Origami video, actors knew the controls were designed to be functional, but may have been clueless as to how they would pretend to function.
Earlier this month, TG Daily learned that Intel is gearing up to roll out its Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) platform, which is likely to be based on ultra-low-voltage Pentium M processors using a 90 nm Dothan core, plus Intel’s 915GMS chipset. As Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed off at last fall’s Developers’ Forum with his own prototypes, UMPC computers will be designed to consume very low power – as low as 0.5 watts – while running Windows Vista, a feat akin to relocating a mountain with a shovel.
Intel’s UMPC prototype
Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed that it will be merging Tablet PC functionality into Vista’s professional tier. Meanwhile, the OrigamiProject.com Web site, whose cryptic Stage I video, “What am I?” was unveiled this week, clearly features two disabled links for “Week 2” and “Week 3,” letting all users know there will be more news to come over the next few weeks. Intel’s Spring IDF will be next week, in San Francisco. With all these pieces of the puzzle in front of us, it’s easy to speculate that “Origami” is the UMPC platform, and that Intel and Microsoft are both likely to reveal it to the public, starting next week. Hopefully the final version won’t look like a toaster for a recreational vehicle.