Microsoft Launches Ultra Mobile Computing Platform

In the past few months, computer technologists and internet users have been wondering what Microsoft’s Origami project was. Microsoft launched a very successful marketing campaign through the website It created a buzz of speculation among computer users. Microsoft has released the details behind its new ultra mobile computing platform, and many manufacturers are putting them on the market.
These new ultra mobile devices are meant to fill the gap between the personal digital assistant and a laptop computer. Microsoft’s goal is to allow users to users to have a fully functional personal computer in an extremely mobile package. “This is definitely our first step in looking at the area of ultra mobile PCs,” said Mika Krammer, a Windows marketing director for Microsoft’s mobile platforms to CNet.

Microsoft has included some special tools and software to allow users to be more efficient on the platform. A new piece of media center software allows users to synchronize content from their primary personal computer and take it with them on the go. The functionality of the traditional Windows XP tablet edition will also be integrated into the system. It will also include a “touch pack” which will better help users operate the device with their hands, rather than a stylus.

The first generation devices, released in April, feature approximately 7 inch screens, have no keyboards and use a variant of Microsoft’s Windows XP Tablet Edition 2005 for an operating system. The first generation of these devices is expected to cost around $1000, but could vary a few hundred dollars higher or lower based on the components used. These devices can be connected to the internet through WiFi, or with Bluetooth enabled cell phones, ensuring connectivity in most all locations. Rather than using a magnetic stylus as current tablet pc’s do, the UMPCs will have a touch-screen, in which users can either use their digits or a stylus to enter data.

Of course the launch of the new platform is not without its setbacks. Microsoft has acknowledged publicly that the devices are larger than they had originally hoped, and had a much greater level of power consumption than desired. The first generation devices are expected to get approximately three hours of battery life, much less than many had desired. Beyond that, Microsoft was hoping for a price range of $599 to $999 for these devices, but it now appears that the devices will cost between $800 and $1500.

Microsoft has also stated that the first devices will probably mostly appeal to gadget geeks rather than the mass market. “To really hit the mass market…in the hundreds of thousands and the millions of customers, we have to improve,” Krammer said.

Many technologists have wondered why Microsoft would launch these new devices in the shadow of launching its next generation operating system, Windows Vista. The first generation of these devices will not be able to run the new operating system, and will still be using Windows XP. Any user who purchases one of the first devices in April, will have out of date technology by Christmas.

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