Microsoft’s Origami Unveiled as Handheld PC

After months of speculation on Microsoft’s new Origami software program creating a new category in portable media devices, the result of the much-hyped effort was shown at the CeBit computer show in Hanover, Germany, on Thursday, and the result seems to be, essentially, another Windows XP-driven PC, albeit a very small one.

Billed as an “Ultra-Mobile PC” by Microsoft, the device is about the size of a paperback book, with a 7-inch screen and WiFi connectivity to enable Web browsing and e-mail.

Samsung is the first manufacturer of the “Ultra Mobile PC” product, and said at CeBit that it plans to offer the device this spring for around 1,000 euros, or $1,191 US.

Samsung is releasing more details about the product on Friday. Various press reports have suggested that UltraMobile PC products, which will be made by Asus and Founder in addition to Samsung, might also include digital television tuners to enable portable TV viewing.