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Microsoft announce new Handheld

The opening morning of the giant Cebit technology fair was dominated by news about Microsoft's mini PC project, Origami.

Prior to the show, the software giant drip-fed information through a teaser website that hinted at what it might do.

At the Hanover-based show the first working devices were unveiled, along with information about its capabilities.

Korean electronics firm Samsung said it would start selling Origami in the next few weeks.

Samsung, which has dubbed its first Origami handheld Q1, showed off the black, paperback-sized computer at its opening press conference.

The machine has a 7-inch touchscreen and a 40 gigabyte hard drive.

It also boasts an Intel Celeron processor onboard, runs the tablet edition of Windows XP and uses wi-fi and bluetooth to communicate.

Extras for the gadget include a Bluetooth keyboard and a card that lets it use mobile phone networks to communicate.

As first described by Bill Gates at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in 2005, the device is intended to be an ultra-portable PC.

 

Samsung said the Q1 could do everything a regular PC could do and runs in two modes.

One involves using it as a cut-down PC running the familiar Windows operating system.

The second is as a pure media device that lets users watch video or listen to music without turning on the operating system.

Rivals expected

Samsung's device also includes a Digital Media Broadcasting tuner so it can handle TV programmes broadcast for mobile gadgets.

Introducing the Q1, Dr David Steel, Samsung's vice president of digital media business, said: "This is a very good sign of convergence coming into the computer industry.

 

"Now the consumer has a single mobile computing device that combines the mobile functionality of many different devices."

He claimed that the Q1 would act as a replacement for mobile media players, game handhelds, palmtop computers and notebook PCs.

When it goes on sale, the Q1 is expected to cost about 1,000 euros (£699).

Other ultra-portable computers are expected soon from Asustek and the Chinese Founder Group. Intel, too, has been working on different designs for the ultra-portable PC.

Microsoft is expected to flesh out its vision for the product later on at the show.

By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website, in Hanover