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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Apple took over the Origami Project

While the iPhone 4 could be called the Apple’s disaster, the iPad is becoming a best seller product. The iPad is what most of us wanted to see when Microsoft announced the Origami Project. What were we expecting from MS:

  • a device with about 10-12 hours of battery life
  • a very portable device in the market hole that existed between the 4.5 inches and the 9.8 inches (the smaller Tablet PC in the market at that time (Fujitsu P15/1600)).
  • Instant On/Off. Hibernation or Standby in Windows 7 is close but still not there.
  • an Operating System redesigned with a better touch support. More finger friendly. Creating interfaces like the Origami Project or the one installed in Surface is not enough. 

Unfortunately, the Origami Project came to life when MS was ending with XP and trying to sell the Vista Fiasco. On top of that, there was the transition in the Intel mobile processor market to the new Atom processor. The A100 and the A110 failed to deliver the performance and the battery life that we expected from them. Microsoft in another hand failed to see that even today, more than 4 years after the announcement of the Origami Project, the technology to achieve more than 10 hours of battery, keep an external design mobile enough and have enough power to move Windows 7 efficiently does not exist. At this moment to me is clear that battery life and a full multitask are not good friends. At least in the way we have it in Windows. Microsoft refused to create a new OS for Origami, something that many of us saw as the solution to increase both performance and battery live. Origami was designed to be a companion PC, never to substitute the Desktop PC at home. Then, if that the case why to load a full OS on then. What was needed was to ensure that the OS loaded in Origami was compatible with any file created in a PC such as all kind of Office Documents. That way you could have used your home PC to create and the Origami for last moment editing and show up via projectors those documents.   

Apple in the iPad found and used  the most balanced formula to take over the Origami Project.

How to achieve 10 hours of battery. Well, we have to strip down the hardware. You can't get rid of the screen but you can get rid of all the USB modules, memory readers and HDD. Just by doing that you are gaining 60% of battery savings. Now, eliminating all that  your motherboard becomes smaller. About the size used in an iPhone or an Android phone, that means more battery savings. On top of that, add a flat battery covering almost 70% of the back area of the iPad (Check this picture). The rest is software. If you don't have multitask then you don't have any one sucking your battery in background.. Apple did not use MacOS in their iPad. Why? Because they did not want to send down the pipe all their battery savings that’s why they used the iOS. I believe that Jobs does not want flash because he would have problems to stop all those flash adds when the user switches from Safari to any other program. And he is right, some of those flash animations sucks a lot of resources. Of course there are other solutions for the flash issue, we have seen it in Froyo 2.2. I mention flash to show the obsession of Apple with saving battery life.

The bottom line, To gain what MS was dreaming to see in the Origami Project you have to change the whole mentality behind the design. You have to change the hardware and the software. Microsoft did not change enough the hardware and did not change at all the software.

Apple did not invent the wheel. They optimized it. And they did it right.