Microsoft to unveil iPod Rival?
For months there have been rumours of a new Microsoft product, reportedly known as “Origami” that aims to rival Apple’s iPod multimedia set. Microsoft finally announced today that the device will be officially unveiled at the Cebit technology exhibition in Hanover, Germany, which runs from 9th to 15th of March.
Origami is thought be a handheld set with a touch sensitive screen, wireless internet, and capable of playing music, videos and games. The device will be launched in 2007 with a starting price somewhere between $800 and $1000.
Details of the device apart, particularly interesting, are the circumstances surrounding its launch.
Until recently, Microsoft had refused to confirm or deny that they were working on Origami, though there were strong hints from Robert Scoble (a well-known blogger who works for Microsoft) that a handheld set was under development.
Previously, a promotional video featuring Origami was mysteriously “leaked”, and appeared on a website www.yourtube.com, which apparently has links to Microsoft. The video, later confirmed by Microsoft as being authentic and at least a year old, shows people playing games, writing notes, listening to music, sending pictures, and using an internet navigational service.
Another twist to the saga was the discovery at the beginning of March of an official “teaser” web site, www.origamiproject.com, which hinted at some of the capabilities of Origami, and appeared to suggest an imminent, forthcoming announcement.
Indeed, the actual timing of today’s official announcement by Microsoft was likely no coincidence either, coming on the same day that Apple launched it’s iPod Hi – Fi, a speaker system capable of integrating portable music players in living room sound systems. There’s certainly no love lost between Microsoft and Apple, and no doubt Microsoft were trying to steal some of its arch-rival’s thunder.
The whole saga smacks of another crass attempt by Microsoft at viral marketing. We have to admit though; the circumstances surrounding the launch have caused quite a stir.