Microsoft have announced their plans for Origami, by revealing an XP-based operating system which will be used in Ultra-mobile PC devices when they launch later this year.

Microsoft origami Touch Pack DialKeys

Central to the Origami experience is the Touch Pack expansion which will introduce a number of new features specifically for UMPC users, including the ability to enter text using your thumbs via a system called DialKeys with a standard QWERTY-style keyboard split in two.

Interacting with Windows is also going to be made easier by increasing the size of scroll bars and buttons so as fingertips can be used to control everything by touching the screen, and a new Program Launcher will give quick access to key applications such as Internet Explorer, Messenger, Outlook Express, and other regularly used programs.

Microsoft origami Touch Pack Program Launcher

Much of the excitement of Microsoft's announcement was blown two days ago when Intel made their own announcement about UMPC devices, which will feature a touch-sensitive screen up to 7 inches in size, a minimum of 800x400 resolution, and wireless connectivity via WiFi, bluetooth and GPRS.

More details about Ultra-Mobile PC's can be found on the Microsoft website and the Origami Project community website is running a weblog giving some background information on the development of the system and how it's expected to be used in day-to-day life.

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Intel lift lid on Ultra Mobile PC devices