Internet Tablets and Origami

Nokia 770 Internet Tablet
Flickr photo by Hagge.

No this isn’t about how to fold your computer. At a staff meeting today, I casually mentioned that a device called an Internet Tablet (specifically the Nokia 770) was being tested by one of the UMW faculty in my building. Steve Gallik teaches a Histology class in the Jepson Science Center, and he currently uses tablet PCs. He wanted to test the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, which, at $350 is considerably less expensive than a tablet PC. So he bought one. I must say it’s pretty cool and has loads of potential, but it has a little ways to go to being great.

I was also seeing this Origami Project buzz on the Internet, as Microsoft does its best Apple impression and doles out teasingly small bits of information on a new device. I remember when corporations introduced products weeks, months, even years in advance and then you waited for it to hit the store shelves. Not any more. We now wait for the product announcement with the proverbial bated breath. “They’re keeping it a secret so it has to be great.” With Apple’s latest announcement (a computer update and an iPod boom box) a monumental bore, and an apparently crushing disappointment to faithful Apple-nuts, I’m hoping that we are near the end of the product announcement mystery date phase of the consumer electronics industry. I know, I know, I did express some excitement for the Mac Mini, but that’s coming from a HD Geek. Hardly your average consumer (yet?). However, I digress.

Microsoft has apprently shown the “Origami PC” to a few folks at BlackBoard World. Yes, THAT BlackBoard, which means that the product has at least a little bit of educational emphasis to it. Here’s what one mobile PC website had to say.

I’ve been told from a very reliable source that Microsoft unoffically showed the origami pc yesterday at BlackBoard World to a select 50 customers of Blackboard – among the software to be included from day one: GoBinder and Backpack. He also confirmed that they will announce it on March 9 with Intel. Considering GoBinder and Backpack and the BlackBoard markets ( all centered around students), you can start to see who Microsoft’s target market will be with this new device, and why they would use this opportunity to give a “sneak peak”.

from GottaBeMobile

Which leads me to the conversation that I had with Dr. Gallik today about the Nokia Internet Tablet. He said that while the small device passes the test of displaying his Digital Histology Lab Manual, he still prefers the tablet PC because of the screen size. While the small form factor is cool, the tablet PC better allows him to read the dominant element of his manual, which is text. He concluded by saying that maybe something that is sized in between the tablet and the Nokia would be ideal. Is the Origami going to be that ideal device? C’mon Microsoft. Tell us already.

Quick UPDATE: I’ve been following links all over the place and should mention this extra link at GottaBeMobile about “What’s already out there?”.

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