Microsoft Redefining Handheld Gaming

from paul thurrott’s fantastic wininformant newsletter.

Microsoft to Announce Mini-Tablet PCs

by Paul Thurrott,

On March 2, Microsoft will unveil a mysterious new miniature Tablet PC product family. Code-named Origami (and previously code-named Haiku), the new devices will be the size of a PDA but will include a full Windows OS. I don’t know yet whether that OS will be Windows XP Tablet or some version of Windows Vista, but my guess is that it will be Vista-based.

Indeed, we know very little about the devices at this point. At the 2005 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), the software giant described Haiku as an “ultra-portable laptop convertible” based on Vista. Microsoft intended this device to showcase how a Tablet PC-enabled version of Windows could be applied to a much wider range of devices than PC makers target today. The device was described as weighing 1 to 2 pounds, having an all-day battery life, and costing from $500 to $1000.

Origami is even more mysterious. It is promoted on an enigmatic Web site called Origami Project, which suggests only that the device will be ultra portable and feature a touch screen (a feature promised for the Tablet PC software in Windows Vista). Currently, the site offers
mostly questions, such as “do you know what i can do?” and “do you know … how i can change your life?”

Here’s my take on this: Some of the rumor sites on the underbelly of the Web have been suggesting that Origami might be Microsoft’s “xPod,” or “iPod-killer.” Origami is not that product. Instead, Origami is clearly aimed at pushing the boundaries of the Tablet PC platform and will instead be the long-promised 9″ Tablet PC that Microsoft first started touting two years ago. It’s just the next version of Haiku.

The Origami Project

if you think about it — brilliant.

sure, it’s a got a heftier pricetag than a psp, but, it’s a goddamn computer. as a big proponent of the tablet pc i have, this kicks ass. it’d be great for lan parties.

vista (the new pc gaming platform) running on a tablet with an all-day battery? i’m so there.

if only it’s form factor was smaller to be more portable. my tablet’s not bad, but it’s not anywhere near as small as the gigantic (by portable gaming standards) psp.



20 comments so far

  1. Oncnawan on


    Have you checked out the Blueray, HD-DVD article on IGN?

    On topic: I really have no interest in portable gaming, so this is less interesting to me, personally, from that aspect, but from a business and personal computing/connectivity standpoint, it could be delicious. Three days to wait is doable.

  2. m3mnoch on

    holy crap. i hadn’t seen that.

    wow. talk about your stupid-of-stupidest decisions.

    so gonna write up a quick note on it. jeezus. unbelievable. thanks for the tip.


  3. Oncnawan on

    Hey, you’re welcome. Do you have an email address for this kind of stuff (tips, post ideas)?

  4. ushman360 on

    WOW! Thank god for my girlfriend talking me out of buying a hdtv!! that is some information 3 million people would of like to known before they got there new hdtv setups

  5. m3mnoch on

    heh. not a real one like tips[at] or anything. tho. i suppose i could just set one up.

    eh. maybe. if i keep getting juicy stuff all the time, i prolly will.

    in the meantime, feel free to send anything you want to if you are feeling ‘tipsy.’

    heh. tho, i’m not talking about 2am booty calls.


  6. ushman360 on

    adding something esle off topic: isn’t ps3 games going to be on blu ray so you need a hdtv just to play the games.. haha ha to all the ps3 fanboys

  7. Oncnawan on

    The blueray drive in the PS3 is supposed to play DVDs as well as Blueray disks.

    I see only two solutions to this mess:

    1. Movies on Blueray, games on DVD (I heard something about Microsoft doing something like that, to much jeering from the Sony camp).

    2. Movies on Blueray and games on Blueray, with different security features for the games. I don’t think this is a possibility, as the IGN article indicates that anything with a “Blueray signal” would require HDMI. Is is possible to have media on a Blueray disk and only use a portion of the security features? It seems like this is a lockdown on any media coming off of a Blueray disk.

    The second option points out something of importance. We don’t know squat. The involved parties are very quiet about this and Sony, who should be at the front of the information wave informing consumers and reassuring potential buyers, is silent. I am suspicious of silence, especially where it works to Sony’s benefit to have this issue receive as little attention as possible.

  8. Grindstone on

    Oncnawan, that is the most disturbing article I have read in weeks. It totally sickens me (especially thinking about my probable non-compatible HDTV at home).

    Ugg. It’s days like these (a Monday, of course) that I feel inclined to load up a shotgun and go trawling through Bestbuy. Not that it is their fault, but to send a message. Terrorism style. Look for me on the news tonight. I’ll be the one with the crazy-eyed look holding a DVD hostage.

    Just kidding. I think.

  9. Grindstone on

    Oh, and regarding the topic posted by m3mnoch:

    Cool. Thursday it is.

  10. Isaac on

    Holy crap, 3 million? And how does Sony pretend Blu-ray movies to be adopted then? Is there no way to jump it? Is there no way to make your HDTV somehow HDMI/DVI and HDCP compatible with hardware (like cables, or an add on)?

  11. m3mnoch on

    sorry grindstone. thursday nights are bad for me. i’m usually late and tired getting home from poker* night.

    heh. thanks for the offer tho.


    * poker may or may not be code for dungeons and dragons.

  12. m3mnoch on

    of course you can convert the signal, but that’s just another $50 add-on to the whole thing.

    then again, as oncnawan importantly pointed out: we don’t know squat.


  13. Andrew on
  14. m3mnoch on

    that’s a great article. basically says this:

    1) high-definition dvd movies will be 540p on your pre-existing analog component video cables.

    2) it’s 6 million, not 3 million hdtv owners who get screwed.

    3) it’s a $600 addon to enjoy hdmi from your cable, stand-alone high-definition dvd player and ps3 (because nobody but the low budget folks use their game consoles as dvd players, much less high defintion dvd players) all at the same time.

    nice. again, i say:

    gooooooooooooooooo sony!


  15. Oncnawan on

    The author of that last article claims that “In many instances, viewers won’t be able to tell the difference between an upconverted and a native 1,080 display.”

    Unable to tell the difference? For HDTVs smaller than 20″, maybe. But on a decent size display, I am going to notice the difference between native 1080 and 540-upscaled to 1080.

    Bullocks. The good news for Sony fans is that the publishing company has the option of flagging the disk for lower resolution display on analog cables. This being an option means that Sony can release games on Blueray disks that are viewable over component cables (and hopefully composite cables for SDTVs) by not flagging the disk.

    All of the above is contingent on the veracity of the author’s post and this being the final format decided upon by the AACS.

  16. m3mnoch on

    true. the publishing company has the option. but, seriously, what studio is going to put out an unprotected movie when they have the option to ‘protect’ it?

    and, for games looking good on standard defintion as well as component cables, why do we need blu-ray again? even a 2x blu-ray drive has crappier access speeds than a 48x dvd drive. most ps3 games will fit (and be shipped) on the cheaper dvd-9 format.

    i was thinking we all decided that blu-ray disc storage capacity was necessary for movies, but not games.

    but, since it appears that it’s not even good for movies for the current 6 million hdtv owners.

    so, sony’s not just hitching their wagon to the hdtv train, they are hitching it to the hdmi train.

    what are they thinking? how many concentric niches are they looking to target with the ps3. it just blows me away.


  17. […] there’s a helluva good discussion going on over where oncnawan originally pointed me to this article. […]

  18. Oncnawan on

    If Sony had faith in the Playstation division/brand, they would strip the Blueray drive from the console and launch in the U.S. first.

    The reason that is not going to happen is because Blueray is not a necessary technology. In order for Blueray to make sufficient headway towards becoming the dominant format, it can not stand on its merits alone, but needs to be snuck into our homes via the PS3. Sony is compromising the features of the PS3 in order to push Blueray. I have said it before and I will say it again. If I were a Sony fan approaching this generation, I would be disgusted that Sony has been pimping out the Playstation platform to earn an installed userbase to reinvigorate their home electronics business. The sickly sweet part of it all is that they somehow convinced Playstation fans that this was a good idea. “Hey, I need to borrow your console for the evening. I have some friends that want to meet it. Don’t worry, when I bring it back it will have some new ‘features’ under the hood. By the way, can I borrow change for a five?”

  19. jc on

    I’ve noticed that the ever popular tag-line of “redefinition” comes to fruition only when the product sells.

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