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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Clues on Microsoft's Origami Project

Microsoft confirmed on Monday it is working on a new handheld device that will be called Origami Project that is a cross between a PDA and a Tablet PC.

Microsoft has put up a Web site named Origami prokect that gives no details that predicts some form of announcement on Thursday.

"Hello. Do you know me? Do you know what I can do? And where I can go? Or how I can change your life? You will ... learn more on 3.2.06," the animation says.

The site generated so much buzz among bloggers that a Microsoft technical evangelist on Monday tried to calm expectations that the company was ready to release a product.

Soon after discovery of the Origami Project Web site, a video that was apparently showing this new device started circulating the Internet. The video, which was found on the site of production firm Digital Kitchen, shows people using a handheld device with a touch screen used to watch video, access the Web, send pictures and instant messages and play videogames. The machine appears to have a wireless internet connection.

"While Origami is a concept we've been working on with partners, please know that the video seen on Digital Kitchen's Web site is a year old and represents our initial exploration into this form factor, including possible uses and scenarios," Microsoft said in an emailed statement. "However, we are excited to share more details about the evolution of the Origami concept with you in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!"

A company spokesman told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper that no announcement was planned for Thursday. The Origami Project site will eventually be updated with more details and according to Microsoft more clues should appear on Thursday.

Richard Scoble, a Microsoft executive and blogger has been so far the only person at Microsoft to confirm that Origami is indeed a handheld device. On his blog, Scobleizer wrote that Origami is a "fairly low-cost," portable device developed by a team at Microsoft headed by Otto Berkes, who had previously worked on the Xbox game console. "I do know that Origami is the code name for a new kind of device," he wrote.

Berkes' team that developed Origami was based in the same building that houses Microsoft's Tablet PC team, Scoble wrote.

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