Five years ago, my interest in mobile technology expanded when Microsoft introduced an idea called Project Origami, later became known as Ultra-Mobile PC or UMPC. The UMPC is like a Tablet PC, only smaller, lightweight which makes it easier to carry around. Unlike the Tablet PC which was used by the Enterprise market, the UMPC was aimed at Consumers. I remember a video showing a housewife with a UMPC checking for recipes on the internet and the rest of the family using the device to surf the internet or play media files stored on the device. It’s basically a handy mobile device with a full-blown OS that is very much lighter than a laptop, and this piqued my interest as a gadgeteer because I’ve been dreaming for a small device that i can carry around wherever I go. Among the first to introduce their own UMPC units were OQO (watch MI:3 and you’ll see an OQO UMPC used by Tom Cruise in the movie) and Raon (their Everun was among the best UMPCs I’ve ever seen) as well as big name players like Samsung and Sony. While brands like Samsung looked similar to what Project Origami has envisioned, other brands have other designs in mind: Raon’s Everun is like an oversized PDA while Sony & OQO had slide-out keyboards.
I went to Singapore later that year for work and one of the first things I wanted to buy was a UMPC. Though I’m very much interested with Raon’s Everun, I eventually bought a Kohjinsha UMPC which suits my needs in terms of size, design and hardware features. I would bring this along with me even if I don’t need to. I just love the fact that I have a computer that I can bring along with me with me wherever I go.