Microsoft Also Readying “Haiku”, A Smaller Origami

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Lots of people are writing about how Microsoft is still doing development work on “Haiku”, the code-name for an even smaller PC form factor than the “Origami” Ultra Mobile PCs.

In some ways the Haikus are what the UMPC was supposed to be, and are still being targetted at a $500-700 price point and with all-day batteries, but in a smaller package with smaller screens.

It almost seems like Microsoft is readying an new form factor to accelerate the work to actually make the UMPC what it was always supposed to do. The Origami sacrificed battery life and pricing to keep to Microsoft’s form factor specifications, when they would have been better off sacrificing screen size and some features to keep pricing and battery life at reasonable levels (which they certainly were not). Maybe Microsoft hopes that the Haiku will force them to actually get it right the second time around.

The article at InfoWorld reveals some of the backstory.

“We’d like to see them out in the $500 to $700 range. The closer to $500 the better,” said Otto Berkes, general manager of Microsoft’s Ultra Mobile PC operations, on the sidelines of a conference in Taipei on Wednesday.

The Haiku device he showed off at the Via Technology Forum was basically a display screen about the size of a paperback book.

The original Haiku device was shown off by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates during WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) last year. At the time, the company projected it might ship in 2007.

But this year’s launch of the ultra-mobile PC, code-named Origami, prompted speculation that Origami was the portable PC of choice for Microsoft, and it might drop other such projects. That’s not the case, according to Berkes.

“We don’t think [the Haiku] is feasible today, but we’re very excited about the roadmap [Via Technologies] shared that will make this possible in a few years,” he said.

More coverage at:
Ars Technica
Loren Heiny (who suggest the form factor could make a killer digital camera, rather than a mini-PC)

Engadget has Haiku haikus:

When was the last time
Microsoft got something right
Don’t believe the hype

big and expensive,
origami disappoints.
now wait for haiku

Don’t like this version?
We’ll do better the next time!
Just wait a few years

Don’t you buy this thing
Something better will come out
Surely in a year

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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