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Devices will range from $599 to $999

Microsoft has officially announced its "Origami" project today. Microsoft has had been teasing us for the past few weeks, but the real goods start leaking out early this week.

The new Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs) feature 7" screens, weigh less than two pounds, get around three hours of use on a charge and run on variant of Windows XP TabletPC Edition. Models from Asus, Founder and Samsung are due to hit the market within the next few months.

"We believe that (ultra-mobile PCs) will eventually become as indispensable and ubiquitous as the mobile phone today," said Microsoft VP Bill Mitchell.

Well, Microsoft and its partners have their work cut out for them. Microsoft also had high hopes for TabletPCs, but that endeavor has showed little promise. And with a price tag of between $599 to $999, only the true gadget geeks will go for these at first.

That being said, here's a little of what Mitchell has to say about the UMPC in comparison to other mobile platforms:

PressPass: How does a UMPC differ from other notebook PCs and other mobile computers currently on the market?

Mitchell: A UMPC is smaller, lighter and far more portable than most other fully-functional PCs. UMPCs are also the first to feature our Windows Touch Pack software that optimizes the touch screen user interface for smaller form factors to simplify navigation and ease-of-use while on the go It can be used in a hand-held mode of operation rather than on a desk top, and can be used in places and situations where notebook PCs can’t. It also has a more flexible set of interaction and input methods, including a touch screen, stylus and hardware controls. A UMPC can easily be synchronized with a non-mobile, larger, primary PC at home or work, making it easy to take music, movies, photos, and Office documents on the go. The UMPC is also different from other small Windows XP-based PCs like the OQO and the Fujitsu LifeBook P1500D, which are designed for enterprise environments.





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