Microsoft’s Big Origami Secret: What Exactly is the Darn Thing?

The rumors are flying like crazy once again as Microsoft prepares for another big announcement. First a teaser short is discovered on this newly-discovered Microsoft website at Then another website leaks through their site a video of what appears to be a new kind of device. The big question poised to the Redmond-watching community, though, is this: What, exactly, IS ‘Project Origami’ really about?

First the website discovery. Microsoft apparantly registered the website with the intent to make a big announcement as to the creation of some new device, as Robert Scoble has revealed on his blog before bowing to what he called “the NDA police” on any further discussion. This is not known through the website, however, as it only shows a teaser animation at this point. The website basically builds tension for a March 2nd announcement only by posing this thought: “Hello, Do you know me? Do you know what I can do? or how i can change your life? You will….” No wonder there’s so much speculation.

But that still does not answer the question about just what ‘Project Origami is. But a video leaked on the website of Digital Kitchen hints at a device of some sort, just as Scoble had said it would be. A device similar to a Tablet PC, and then some. It may not even bwe announced on the 2nd, as PC World reports – it could just be additional details leading up to the big announcement. This is remarkably much like you’re average iPod announcement from Steve Jobs over at Apple Computer, ironically enough due to the fact that some people are picturing an iPod-like device. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? In fact, that’s exactly what some bloggers are guessing at, according to PC World – a “portable media player device with a touchscreen that looks like something between a PDA (personal digital assistant) and a Tablet PC.” But how many opinions on the subject are there? In fact, there are quite a few, ranging from a portable communicator to a mix of a Portable Media Center and a Nokia 770. So just how do you know what something is like this? Not very easily – in fact, Microsoft has downplayed the concept video that added feul to the debate as being at least a year old, sources have apparantly revealed that National Semiconductor’s Origami has no connection to Microsoft’s Origami (as discernable through a National Semiconductor media release courtesy of PR Newswire), and even the Vole itself is not planning a full announcement for at least a couple weeks or so – but will instead drop more hints on the stated date at the aforementioned website and onward up to the big announcement. Which means that pundits will be guessing for the at least two to three weeks or more, and we still won’t have a clear answer for quite some time. (What else is someone to do in this situation, anyway?)

So ask yourself this: What do you think Microsoft is trying to do here? I myself think the Vole has taken a page from Steve Jobs, and then some. Usually, when Apple Computer starts planning for a new iPod product, the scheduling of an announcement of some sort does not drop the bombshell right off the bat, but analysts and other technology watchers start guesing away until Jobs reveals on the scheduled date just what he has up his sleeve – and until he does, nobody outside of the highest ranks Apple camp knows just what his closely-kept secret announcement is made. Microsoft, however, is taking a spin on this idea by setting a date, dropping hints on the web, waiting for the set date, dropping more hints and repeating the cycle until the big announcement. In other words, the Vole’s tactics in this regard are a variation of Steve Jobs’s announcement planning approach that has become a trademark tactic at Apple Computer.

So for now, let’s just say that Microsoft had better make good on its promise and deliver an exceptional announcement soon. Meanwhile, let’s just watch the guessing game.

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