Meet the ultra-mobile PC, a.k.a. UMPC: a seven-inch screen, Windows XP Tablet PC operating system, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, all in a book-size package that weighs less thantwo pounds. It’s the vision of the Origami Project team at Microsoft, which recently unveiled design concepts and software for the devices. All Origami-certified UMPCs will feature the Touch Pack, a finger-friendly add-on to Windows XP with shortcut keys, large program icons and a split on-screen keyboard for rapid typing with your thumbs.
Is this Microsoft’s answer to the iPod—a juiced-up, highly capable media player? Unlikely. Analysts say the company is just testing the waters for consumer interest in the small (though not quite pocketable) devices. Want to be an early adopter? Launch the slideshow (above) to see the first three UMPCs expected to hit the market.