Since last weekend the web has been abuzz about a new Microsoft technology called “Origami.” First, there’s the mysterious website at origamiproject.com (a domain registered to Microsoft, notes Robert Scoble) which coyly asks viewers:
do you know what i can do?
or where I can go?
or how i can change your life?
learn more on 3.2.06
And now, just before midnight, a second teaser has appeared, taunting us with more questions:
wondering where to find me?
i am here
and way up here . . .
Well, you get the picture. Only this time we’re supposed to wait until 3.9.06 for more information.
But of course none of us can wait, especially after seeing the leaked video, which was unearthed by enterprising Googlers searching the website of film-production company Digital Kitchen. Microsoft has acknowledged the video, but says it is a year old and represents only a concept the company has “been working on with partners.”
There’s been massive speculation about the tablet-sized device the four-minute video features. It is used variously as a photo album, instant-messaging device, sketch pad, navigation system, video-game machine, music player, remote control, and probably a few other gizmos that we were a little too dense to gather amid the film’s stylized futuristic hubbub.
So many exciting and bewildering technologies! But here at the Satchel Pages we know the main unanswered question on the minds of everyone who’s seen the video:
What is it with those man purses? No fewer than four of them are featured. There are three female characters; none of them is shown with a bag of any sort. But those gadget-y guys and their man bags!
Microsoft says that Origami is a technology, not a device. After watching the video, we suspect it might actually represent some mysterious breakthrough in man-purse technology.
Continue reading for the Satchel Pages’ frame-by-frame analysis of Microsoft’s Origami Man Purse Project video!
The first man purse, a shoulder bag, appears in the passenger seat of a truck driven by a tousled-haired photographer. This is the first of several “Origami with case” shots, in which the man purse serves as a frame for the tablet. Here the screen displays a map.
Mr. Tousle grabs the tablet and navigates the map. The man purse is still visible in the top right of the screen.
After stepping out of the cab and sticking an earbud into his ear, the photographer leans in to grab the man purse and sling it over his shoulder.
Next, he leans back into the cab to grab the Origami tablet. The shoulder bag is draped over his right shoulder.
He selects an mp3 from the on-screen menu, then drops the Origami tablet into his coat pocket. Here, at least, the man purse is not a case.
His tripod planted for the perfect shot, our photographer lays the tablet carefully on an improvised man-purse podium, then steps behind the lens.
The photograph he takes appears on the tablet, which is still resting on the man purse. He touches a button and a histogram of the photo appears on the screen. After pulling out a cell phone, he scribbles “print this” on one of the photos as he kneels over the tablet and man bag.
Our next man-purse man carries two bags. The first sits next to him as he waits at a train station. It’s a grayish, bulky backpack.
It’s a case for the Origami tablet. First, he plays a video game (Halo) on it.
But this is a rather special man purse, because it seems to have an integrated keyboard which controls the tablet. After receiving an instant message, he navigates to a website that sells T-shirts.
But the train’s a-comin’, so our dual-man-purse dude packs up his bag in a hurry.
The man-purse case makes an Origami sandwich.
Cut to a long shot, as Train Man hoists his pack onto his back and rushes off to the rails.
Our final man purse appears on the back of this bike rider. It’s a light beige messenger bag.
The strap crosses his chest.
Close up on the bag: He unzips the side pocket . . .
reaches in and pulls out . . .
What did you expect?
After checking a hand-drawn map on the screen, he puts the tablet back in his satchel. A protective pad on the shoulder strap has slipped down to his chest.
Helmet off, our motorcycle messenger man wanders through some sort of downtown-y courtyard, bag now draped over one shoulder.
This must be the right place: He puts down the helmet and waits. But now the bag is strapped across his chest again. Note to continuity folks: please fix.
After snapping a photo with his camera phone, our messenger reaches into his man purse and pulls out . . .
his trusty Origami tablet.
Then he reaches back into the bag again for a stylus. After a little Photoshop-like action on his photo, he sends it to a friend. Ah, the life of the messenger classes . . .
The video ends with an animated logo, in which the ‘O’ in Origami closes just like a man purse.
Brilliant, Microsoft, brilliant!
- Origami Project [OrigamiProject.com]
- Microsoft project origami video [YouTube]
- Microsoft mystery device is like iPod, and then some [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
- Details unfolding on Microsoft’s Origami [News.com]