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Maloney: Getting Origami into the fold

Anyone who has watched a video on a laptop on an airplane or surfed the Web for entertainment at work is a potential buyer of the new Origami devices proposed by Microsoft and Intel.

Speaking to a group of CNET editors and reporters Thursday at Intel's Santa Clara campus, Sean Maloney, head of the company's mobile group, explained that a notebook is too big and power-hungry to carry everywhere. "The problem is the device is large so they are what we call 'carry with you' devices...not what you call 'carry on you' devices."

Ultramobile PCs

On the other end of the spectrum, cell phones are limited by their small screen size and problems in surfing the Web. Viewing video on anything smaller than a 4-inch screen is uncomfortable, Maloney said, and most cell phones are unable to run many of the plug-ins needed to surf popular Web sites.

Microsoft and Intel earlier this month unveiled the concept behind so-called Origami devices. The first units will have a 7-inch touch screen and standard x86 processors, and be able to run full versions of desktop operating systems including a Windows XP variant. Many PC makers are now readying such devices at an expected cost of about $800 each.

Ideally, said Maloney, the manufacturers will get creative.

"What you don't want is people doing classic PC thinking," he said. Rather, the builders should hew more to the cell phone path, where there is a range of form factors and features.