Engadget gets hands-on with the Samsung Origami

Samsung-origamiLeave it to the guys at Engadget to snag the internet’s first quickie review of a real Origami machine.  Their first thoughts – um, nothing special.  The Samsung model they played around with was a pre-production unit, so there still may be some changes in store, but overall it didn’t come across as being revolutionary.  Of course, that has been the general concensus since Intel broke the first official news of the UMPC-Origami.  As I looked at those first pictures on Engadget, I didn’t see anything that impressive either, but I can see where this platform is heading.  Depending on price, this still may be on my ‘might buy’ lists, but I’ll need to test drive one before I make that committment.

More UMPC (Origami) details today

UmpcToday it was Intel’s turn to take the covers off of the UMPC platform. James Kendrick uncovered this page on the Intel website that begins to fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle. The Intel UMPC website reveals even more with four videos showing use cases for the UMPC here. The second video, “Mix work and pleasure” is the one that got my attention. Two of the other videos feature the device pictured here in action. Cool stuff!

UPDATE:  This link to a PDF brochure has some interesting UMPC facts that confirm many of the rumors floating about.

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UPDATE 2:  News.com has pictures of demo UMPCs from the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, along with some early indicators on pricing, power, etc.  My early verdict?  Nice, too pricey, and somewhat dissappointing.  We’ll have to wait for Microsoft, and ulitmately the product manufacturers for a better idea of what the Future holds for Origami.

Who is Origami really meant for?

Origami The last few weeks, rumors have been running rampant on the blogosphere (really, the entire Internet) about a brand new device that will be loaded with a Microsoft operating system. Whether or not Redmond is orchestrating this buzz is beyond me, but the speculation up to this point does have me very interested. Code named The Origami Project, Microsoft has created some of this hype with a cryptic web-site which strings us along for another week before making a ‘formal’ announcement. Others have found a ‘missing link’ to Microsoft’s hints that pretty much seals the deal, provided by the other half of the Win-tel relationship – Intel. Origami, or UMPC (or whatever you want to call it) looks like a very intriguing new approach to mobile computing. If the rumors prove correct, then this new gadget will essentially be a more mobile Tablet PC (running Windows XP for Tablets) and have multimedia capabilities. The leaked commercial developed by Digital Kitchen validates as much. While there are other small tablet driven computers out there, as Dennis Rice reminds us, this one would truly be aimed at the broader consumer market. Again, if the new devices live up to the hype (and projected price range of approximately $700), I think Origami has huge implications for a lot of folks beyond the assumed target of college age users as the early buzz portrays. The possibilities beyond that core target market seem a bit vague at the moment. What I hope it doesn’t become is a modern day version of the Apple Newton.

So what can Origami do for me?

As many of you know, I switched to a tablet PC (the Toshiba M200 convertible) about two years ago and now can’t imagine working without the capability to ink. Along with a regimented approach to scanning documents into Microsoft OneNote and note-taking in the same application, I’ve been able to slim down my mobile experience substantially. No longer do I carry around folders full of handouts and notepads, with the rare exception of a backup Moleskine notebook. All-in-all this has been a very nice arrangement, but in recent months I’ve begun to rethink my approach a bit. One of the ideas I’ve been toying with is replacing my convertible with an even smaller slate type computer (the Motion Computing LS800 comes to mind). The logic goes like this: I’ve got a powerful desktop computer in my office, an even more powerful one at home, and when I’m on the move, I’m more apt to use my convertible PC in tablet mode than with the keyboard exposed. My Toshiba is great in this mode, but I’d like something more portable…something that could rival the size of the Moleskine. This would not serve as my primary computer, at the same time it would give me greater capabilities than my Treo 650. This device should have enough computing power that I could run the Microsoft Office suite, while remaining compact enough to carry around like a medium-sized paperback book. The LS800 surely fits the requirements, as does the OQO, but I couldn’t imagine spending $2,000 for a portable tablet. The Origami device is being pitched at a more palatable price range. From what Scoble is hinting, Origami will be an entirely new category of devices. Could this be the device that I’ve been hoping for? Well, we’ll all learn on this Thursday….stay tuned.

Agilix ships GoBinder 2006 (finally)

GoBinder 2006, one of the best note-taking solutions out there for the Tablet PC has finally shipped.  For those who aren’t familiar with the product, GoBinder is essentially a digital notebook and PIM for students…although it is a really powerful tool that can be used by just about anyone.  This update to GoBinder was very ambitious, as Agilix decided to make GoBinder more of a platform than an application.  That slowed down the beta process substantially, but this transformation was worth the wait.  Now you can synchronize notes, build your own forms inside the platform, amongst other things.  Although GoBinder is no longer my primary capture tool anymore (MS OneNote 2007 – beta has become that), it is certainly a top flight product.

Scobleized in the ‘Burgh

Photo_011806_006Robert Scoble is in town for a few days, and I had a chance to meet up with him at the Pittsburgh Bloggers gathering last night.  Since it was his birthday the group had a cake and very special gift for him (see the picture).

It was nice to finally meet the man behind the blog.  True to geek form, the moment I mentioned that I was a Tablet PC user, he produced the tablet enabled OQO from his jacket!  I gave it a whirl for a few minutes; pretty nice product.  Scoble and I both agreed, however, that it was out of our price range to purchase.

This was also the first meeting I attended that was put together by the Pittsburgh Bloggers group.  A small community, but they all seemed pretty energized about blogging.  I met bunch of new folks there, and will probably add their group onto my growing list of affiliations.

The best part of this event, however, was the post that Robert made about his Pittsburgh experience.  He pretty much nailed the challenge this town has, and the legacy it must not betray.

Student Tablet PC shows how to scan an entire book into your Tablet

The Student Tablet PC weblog is one of the best Tablet focused sites out there.  While my college days are a distant memory, the site’s productive approach to using a Tablet enabled PC makes it a must read.  For example, their latest post details a great method of scanning textbooks onto your Tablet.  Beside for reducing the weight you have to lug around, the ability to annotate searchable textbooks is a huge advancement from the old days of highlighters and dog-eared pages.  While I’ve yet to scan an entire book myself, the approach is very useful for storing and annotating all kinds of documents that you accumulate in business.

Congratulations Marc!

Microsoft recently announced the latest Tablet PC MVPs, and Marc Orchant was one of those selected.  Congratulations Marc!  For those who don’t know, my introduction to the Tablet platform came essentially through Marc’s blogs, and I continue to rely on his insight on the platform to influence my tablet experience.

A great in-depth review of ActiveWords

The Student Tablet PC blog is one of the best Tablet PC blogs out there.  As their readership has steadily grown, so have the contributors.  Most of the contributions are right on the spot for students (of the college variety), but much of the insight can be translated to the business world as well.  Their latest review, the ActiveWords Overview, is an example of an application that some people would find a real godsend.  I’ve tried it in the past, but never really committed the ramp-up time to make it effective for me.  Since ActiveWords can be used for 60 days before making a commitment, it certainly merits a trial if you are looking to increase your productivity.