The requirements of Windows Vista put a serious cramp on this form factor. Consumers need to wait for new, Vista-capable devices from manufacturers. Manufacturers need to wait for system architects to design new systems from scratch. Architects need to wait for semiconductor technology to create chips that meet the demands of Vista and retain the power consumption and cooling requirements of ultra-mobiles.
Dustin of the Microsoft Origami team posted the following in the Origami Team blog:
On a completely seperate note, I wanted to formally announce that my entire team and I (with the exception of Jeremy) have been asked to move off of UMPC and go to work on a new secret project. The new Product Unit Manager (PUM) for UMPC at Microsoft will be Oscar Koenders.The gutting of the Origami team reaffirms another thought that I posted in the Origami Project forums. I will duplicate it here:
Devices heavily backed by Microsoft, expensive, and less than a year old are now rendered obsolete by the bloat, driver requirements, and other Vista issues. They both want to be "the future" but it's more than an issue of "the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing." It's more like "the left hand is holding the right hand down." The Asus R2H is the ONLY device on the market on which I've seen show a good Origami Experience demonstration. The R2H was also late to market by comparison, having only shipped five months ago. This means that all early adopters (both consumers and manufacturers) are pretty well screwed. There's NO upgrade path for ultra-mobiles and now, with Vista out, you can bet there is no continued user experience development planned for XP UMPC users.This was expanded upon in another post of mine:
I take my UMPC around quite a bit and it's a nice conversation starter. People want to know about it, what it can do, and what it costs. After hundreds of these conversations, I found that what stops people from owning UMPCs are two things: Cost and Fear.The argument could be made that Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 is sufficient for Ultra-Mobile PCs. This is true: UMPCs handle XP just fine after they're maxed out in RAM (usually 1GB) and the user experience is fine. But who is buying Ultra-Mobile PCs? Who needs the latest and greatest in technology and mobility? Will these people WANT to buy the platform of 2007 with the operating system of 2005? The release of Origami Experience shows that Vista is the target for Ultra-Mobile PCs and the poor performance of said software on existing ultra-mobiles is a tall, steaming mound of "tough luck, pal" from Microsoft to early adopters.
Both complaints above are given additional fuel by the release of Vista. It's expensive and it obsolesces the previous (quite high) investments by both manufacturers and consumers.
- Cost: This is obvious: While they were rumored to be in the $600 range, they're typically $900-$2500.
- Fear: They fear they'd pay for it and never use it. They fear they'd buy it for an intended purpose and realize it cannot serve that purpose. They fear that technology will move so fast, it'd make their investment obsolete and they'd have to scrap and re-learn from scratch if they want to adopt the form factor. They fear that it's a fad like the Newton, eventually totally abandoned by it's backer and never to be visited upon again.
What happens now? We wait. We wait and hope the poor of synergy both within Microsoft and between Microsoft and hardware manufacturers hasn't killed this platform.