Dustin has posted some news about the forthcoming UMPC releases from TabletKiosk and Samsung at The Origami Project blog and some new blogs and promotions being planned. What I found most interesting in his post was the following comment:
"Anyway, things are about to get exciting. Why? Well first you'll be living the life soon like we have been doing for a while now and I can say it can really change how you use and rely on your personal computers. You'll suddenly take for granted how light the darn thing is when your toting it around or how relaxing it is to play Sudoku or surf the web from the comfort of your couch. Heck, Emily even is using hers on the free wifi on the bus ride to work everyday. Cities like San Fran and Portland are making wireless more prominent where being always connected will be something you soon won't be able to live without. Pairing the device with a cell phone that offers internet access lets you surf and e-mail even when no wifi is in site."
Having used a number of small-and-light devices over the years, this statement really resonates. I can't imagine life without my Treo 650, much as I couldn't imagine not having the WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities of the Sony UX-50 prior to the Treo. Way back in the day, my Psion Series 5 PDA was a great liberator. So was the Newton MessagePad.
What the Origami devices (I like that name much better than the more industrial UMPC) promise to deliver is a new flexibility in mobile computing. As an unrepentant gadget freak, I don't especially care that the first generation devices don't run Vista, have less than optimal battery life (2.5-3 hours), or come at a slight premium. I am more than happy to pay a premium, carry an extra battery, and use the Tablet PC OS with Touch Pack.
As the devices mature, Vista will be the OS, battery life will get better, and prices will settle down. This is the standard technology adoption cycle in microcosm. I'm not planning on waiting.