Microsoft today unveiled its new Origami Experience (OE) software designed for UMPCs running Windows Vista. Available later this month, OE will replace the Program Launcher application included in XP Tablet PC Edition’s Touch Pack to "deliver a great device-like media interface" that allows quick access to other programs.
Knowing that UMPC owners use their devices for online and multimedia purposes, the Microsoft team created the OE user interface to be more finger-friendly than the Program Launcher, whose icons (as I’m finding out with my Q1P) are often better tapped with a stylus. OE will also be pretty heavily integrated with Windows Media Player 11, allowing playlists to be created directly from the main interface.
I already don’t use the Program Launcher very much, so OE isn’t enough of an incentive for me to upgrade to Vista. I do like how consumer-oriented and "fun" OE sounds (fast load time, media controls always visible, digital photo frame options) and the optimized Microsoft Reader upgrade is much needed, but what I’d rather see is the entire OS being revamped to be a bit more UMPC-friendly (no small task, I know). As it is, tapping various icons and links only gets you so far within the system before the stylus is required. I actually don’t mind the stylus reliance too much, but the fact that one of OE’s selling points is that "all of the buttons are easily targeted with your finger" seems to indicate that Microsoft is leaning toward the stylus being more exclusive to inking.[Origami Project via OrigamiPortal]