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.

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.

This has to be one of the coolest startups out there today

Riya, a very interesting startup company that is building a picture tagging technology, just closed a huge $15MM round of funding.  Riya’s face recognition technology auto tags your photos with the names of those people that you’ve trained it to know based on facial characteristics.  Like something out of the FBI, or hollywood, this would make finding pictures of people from your vast library of digital pics so much easier.  Cool stuff….

Apple’s marketcap surpasses Dell

Apple’s strong run with the iPod has lifted the company’s market capitalization to $72bn, or just slightly higher than Dell.  Engadget has a snippet from an internal email that Steve Jobs sent out marking the moment:

“Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn’t perfect at predicting the future. Based on today’s stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.”

Kind of funny.  Here’s the Engadget link: Jobs calls out Dell, challenges to pistols at dawn .

37Signals to rollout a small business CRM tool

This has to be the best technology news I missed while I was in India. 37Signals, makers of Basecamp, Backpack, and Ta-da lists announced that it will soon roll out Sunrise, a CRM application for small businesses. This is huge! If you aren’t familiar with 37Signals or their previous products, you should check them out immediately. 37Signals has proven that you can build robust applications for a broad set of customers, while keeping these applications simple and elegant. I predict these guys will turn the small business CRM business on its ear when Sunrise is made available. I can’t wait! Link to their announcement here: Sunrise: 37signals’ CRM tool for small business is coming soon

Mainstream migration of Podcasts


Steve Rubel, over at Micro Persuasion, makes a brief mention of new podcast downloads at Fidelity Investments’ Registered Investment Advisor Group.  While not in the true podcast spirit (To access the actual audio, you have to go through a registration process), the fact that Fidelity is offering this service is worth noting.

I think we’re just beginning to see this type of audio-on-demand ‘brochure-ware.’  As more and more people bring podcasts (and vodcast – videocasts) into their daily lives, the medium will serve as a powerful replacement (possibly enhancement) to mass marketing vehicles like brochures and radio advertising.

Some good advice for using del.icio.us

De.licio.us is a really cool social bookmarking website.  So cool in fact that it’s hot!  Yahoo bought de.licio.us last week.  I just read an excellent post over at Slacker Manager about how to best use del.icio.us.  Now that Yahoo owns del.icio.us, I hope they integrate it with the Yahoo Companion toolbar, a browser add-on that I have used, and depended on, for years.