Origamis Future: Doorstop

By Larry Dignan  |  Posted 2006-03-09 Print this article Print

Opinion: There are a number of reasons why Microsoft's Origami will flop, not the least being there is no market for it.

Can you really be sick of a product that technically hasnt shipped yet? Sure you can—its name is Origami. The interest this thing is generating borders on ridiculous. "Origami" is Technoratis most searched term. Blog posts mentioning Origami have spiked in the last day or so. But if you watch stock charts youll notice that Origami mentions have hit whats called a double top. And once you have a double top, the odds are decent that the stock is heading lower. Rest assured that Origami interest is about to head downhill.
Why? This Origami movement is little more than Tablet PC redux, and how many fools do you see running around with those? Thought so. The big issue is that Origami and ultramobile PCs are both technology field of dream products. Build it and allegedly people and corporations will buy them. Click here for a podcast of Eric Lundquists interview with Intels Brad Graff about the ultramobile PC. Sure, low-powered chips, nifty screens and lightweight gadgets are interesting here, but products in search of a market often dont pan out. Among the potholes thatll derail Origami:
  • Itll be excellent at nothing. If Im a gamer, the Origami is likely to be decidedly less cool than anything other gamers will carry around, say a Sony PSP. If Im only looking for music, you cant beat an iPod. If Im a corporate customer, I have no idea what to do with an Origami. Doorstop perhaps?
  • Price: For $599 to $999, its a tad expensive. Again, the Origami lacks a market. If youre a corporate IT buyer and you want your workers connected, a BlackBerry is a better option and most likely cheaper.
  • Gadget overload: Microsoft notes that these ultramobile devices arent designed to replace laptops or cell phones. Of course not, Microsoft wants to sell more software. Its a different view of the world from the buyers side of the world. Basically, Microsoft is asking folks to buy an Origami device in addition to the laptop, BlackBerry, cell phone and iPod. Sure these newfangled devices only weigh a couple pounds, but if you add up all the gadgets already being lugged around, youll need a suitcase. Eric Lundquist offers his first impressions of the ultramobile PC. Click here to read what he thinks. And thats just three items. Consider the competition from handheld computers, cell phones and the fact that its really hard to see these things in great demand in the enterprise, and the Origami is doomed. By next year the Origami will most likely be in the same category as the Tablet PC—an interesting idea that no one quite bought into. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
    Business Editor
    Larry formerly served as the East Coast news editor and Finance Editor at CNET News.com. Prior to that, he was editor of Ziff Davis Inter@ctive Investor, which was, according to Barron's, a Top-10 financial site in the late 1990s. Larry has covered the technology and financial services industry since 1995, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine. He's a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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