Friday, March 10, 2006

[AoyW] A Killer App for the UMPC/Origami

The Origami tablet design from Microsoft seems to have been universally panned. Unlike most of the critics, I actually use an ultralight slate tablet constantly, the NEC LitePad. I'm composing this post with it. (Though I never use handwriting; I write with a shorthand method of my own design.)

Here's a radical idea for the UMPC: think of it not as a PC, but as a server. A device that could fire app UIs at any/many available screens, via wi-fi. Now you're not constrained by the tiny screen and pen input, but you fall back on them when no other PC is handy.

A scenario: You walk into the conference room with your UMPC, and all participating screens light up with your slides, plus UI to let your colleagues annotate them. The UMPC screen shows your slide notes. Later, your head back to your office, and your desktop screens and small office projector light up with whatever they showed before you left to give the presentation.

Windows doesn't offer much infrastructure to accomplish this example, but the web does, especially AJAX & SVG. Re-defining the UMPC as an always-on-you web 2.0 server unlocks a world of killer apps for it—apps which are better served from your pocket than the internet.

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