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By Dan Canale

Tacking the word "project" on any endeavor immediately makes it sound like something big is going on (e.g. "Manhattan Project") or at least something very serious and multi-layered (e.g. "Allan Parson's Project").

When Microsoft launched a frustratingly uninformative website to promote the "Origami Project", which cryptically suggested that the product will change your life, the buzz created was immediate and has quickly grown to thunderous roar.

The "leaking" of an odd-looking Origami promotional video, purportedly commissioned by the software giant in an early phase of the project, has provided some answers, but it raises many other questions: firstly, are we all pawns in a clever marketing campaign designed to create a lot of buzz around this as-yet-to-appear product (our guess = "yes") or are we dealing with a genuine leak of information?

I have viewed the video several times which, I feel, makes me about as authoritative an expert on this product as anyone outside of Microsoft and their partners. Here is what I have determined:

  • The product is a portable PC product, and looks like a much smaller version of Microsoft’s by-now familiar tablet PC
  • It plays video and music, and has wi-fi capability to keep you online as you’re on the move
  • It probably folds – hence the choice of the word "Origami"
  • It allows you to combine work and play, in fact, if the video is to be trusted, once you get it you’ll be able to lounge around in deck chairs, sipping drinks and rarely have to do more than send files around to your Origami-owning co-workers and friends
  • Not only will work be revolutionized, the idyllic urban world seen in the video strongly suggests you will become young, wealthy and beautiful and never again have to deal with traffic or overcrowding (not to mention the frustration of not being able to instantly contact anyone you desire)

Why, that truly is life altering - it’s no wonder this product is creating buzz! It’s also not surprising that some, including Robert Scoble a "Technical Evangelist" at Microsoft who maintains a blog, are concerned that the campaign may be “over promising” – creating an unrealistically high expectation that Microsoft cannot possibly meet.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned to the Origami Project website, as more information is promised soon.

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