JiYoung Kim, director of marketing for mobile CRM applications vendor Vettro, said that she could easily imagine her company creating software for use on ultramobiles like the Origamis in the future, but she said part of the problem with addressing such opportunities in the past has been a lack of coordination among hardware makers and software developers. "One of the conversations were always having with Microsoft is the challenge faced by companies like us with when something like the Java-based devices first came out," said Kim.If Microsoft and its manufacturer partners are serious about courting business users, Kim said, they will need to make sure that the software development community receives sufficient support. "The only platform provider that has succeeded to that end so far is RIMs BlackBerry, Microsoft software has a lot of nuances, and you dont want to have to optimize applications for each different device," she said. "When we see new devices like Origami come on the market, we usually have to wait and see where demand is before going after it; its a chicken and egg scenario, as theres always a debate of who needs to support whom between device makers and software providers." "Microsoft will need to drive some level of standardization to keep people from pointing fingers at each other in terms of delivering applications on time," Kim said. Other experts pointed out that various sub-notebook PCs made by vendors such as Sony and Fujitsu already deliver some of the benefits Microsoft could advertise around Origami in pushing the devices into the business world. However, said Sam Bhavnani, analyst at Current Analysis, it is "great news" to see someone as powerful as Microsoft thinking about new PC designs. While the lack of keyboard and some other features makes Origami a likely fit only in some niche vertical markets at best, the analyst said, it will only benefit users to have another alternative on the market, he believes. Read more here about the anticipation surrounding Origami. "Tablets were a total failure in the corporate market, but there was some success in verticals like education and you could see some applications like that for Origami," Bhavnani said. "On the other hand, the new generation of smart phone type devices will compete with something like this, but Origami doesnt go in your pocket; it could make travel life a lot easier for executives, traveling sales people or remote workers in certain niche markets." Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds predicted that it will wont likely be until 2008 when enough Origami devices and applications reach the market to build any sort of momentum for the platform among business users, but he said that he could envision workers such as restaurant wait staffers or field service technicians adopting the smaller PCs. Another issue that Microsoft and its partners will need to address in order to make that vision a reality, said Reynolds, will be the demand by some business users to be able to integrate the Origamis with traditional desktop PCs. "Most business people will still need some manner to synch up with their other computers, as you dont want two separate PC environments to manage," he said. "If that could be addressed with a shared system or something that allows the smaller device to connect to a faster processor or more memory, that could help drive a lot of interest." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
"The vision was write once and work for all, but it hasnt ever really worked out that way."