Venturing upon the precarious Origami project, its developers from Intel and Microsoft must have wanted to convince everyone of the viability of their idea with the release of initial products, yet they did not quite succeed. Today, after more than a year since the announcement of debut models of Ultra Mobile PCs, the future of the Origami is still rather vague. It turned to be not so easy for the UMPC to wedge itself in between the two long-established product categories, PDAs and notebooks.
PDAs are functionally limited and meant for but a narrow scope of applications. Fitting into your pocket, the PDA can act like a text reader, movie viewer, Web-browser, etc, but it cannot cope with resource-consuming applications. Its ergonomics isn’t quite perfect, either. Notebooks, on the contrary, can do anything a desktop PC can, but their weight and size increase along with each extra gigahertz of CPU frequency, inch of the screen, or megabyte of system memory. This disproportion between ergonomics, performance and weight/size parameters must have led Intel and Microsoft to the idea of a UMPC.
The new device class is supposed to deliver higher performance and be more ergonomic than PDAs while being as mobile as the latter. Today we’ll see if this concept is viable using the ASUS R2H as an example.
Being a leader in each sector of the notebook market from sub-notebooks to desknotes, ASUS has taken the new genre seriously as well. The company showcased two new products at Computex 2006: the tablet PC R1F we have reviewed recently (for details see our article called ASUS R1F – First Tablet from ASUSTeK Lab) and the R2H UMPC.
The ASUS R2H is a truthful embodiment of the Origami concept. It is small, but offers high performance and a large selection of input and positioning devices. It’s got a lot of wireless interfaces as well. We’ll see in our tests how good it really is but now let’s examine its exterior design and internal configuration.