In the continuing saga of great product code names being ditched in favor of the banal, Microsoft folds Origami:
Formerly known as “Origami,” the “UltraMobile PC” is Microsoft’s new name for a smaller version of its Tablet PC, but redesigned as a more multimedia-oriented device. Although the concept was launched together with a mysterious Web campaign and other secrecy, partner Intel had a version of “Origami” on display at the WinHEC 2005 showcase, minus the hype.
The first wave of devices are part of an extensive family of products envisioned by Microsoft. In a FAQ distributed to the press, Microsoft claimed that “UMPCs will eventually become as indispensable and ubiquitous as mobile phones are today.”
Handheld, smartphone, personal digital assistant, notebook, laptop, hiptop, mobile manager, ultralight, sub-notebook, pocket PC, tablet, tablet-mini PC, mini-PC, mobile media companion, and now ultramobile PC.
They should have let Origami define the category on its own rather than creating yet another confusing sub-sub category. BlackBerry defines itself as a BlackBerry, nothing else. iPod’s refusal to create a subcategory descriptor has allowed the name to become a brand that has transcended the original device, and the name is now used on full-blown home stereo equipment. When the iPod device evolves and becomes more and more multifunctional, it will still be an iPod. BlackBerry’s passing on categorizing itself has allowed it to both define and defy the category, offering all combination of functionality across multiple product lines.
Microsoft ditched Origami and embraced Ultramobile PC in a lust to own the category by defining it, hoping the name for the device would become synonymous with the category. Unfortunately, the descriptive Ultramobile PC joins a sea of other sub-category descriptors that are attempting to slice and dice mindshare with every miniscule evolutionary step in product development. The result is yet another pointless subdivision that brings confusion, not clarity, to the forefront. Origami at least had a shot of becoming a category defining name and then morphing into a brand name that transcends the category, a la BlackBerry and iPod. Ultramobile PC has no shot at either goal.
It’s too bad, Origami is an interesting twist on the paper (pun intended) naming theme already in place, denoted by notebook, notepad and tablet.
And by the bye, “entrail”as in fold, not the other one.
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