Aside from a few models, there haven't been many UMPCs that have impressed us. The combination of high price and bulky looks have kept these "miniature" PCs from gaining any ground. But with Vista on the horizon, Microsoft has new plans for its UMPCs—plans it's calling the Origami Experience. The Origami Experience is essentially...

a software upgrade that gives your UMPC a fresh, Vista-like look. It's a brand new interface that addresses a few problems on current UMPCs where drilling down to your media isn't as fast as it should be. For starters, the Origami Experience brings a new Home screen to your UMPC. Instead of seeing the image below, you'll be greeted with the image at the top of the post. The cosmetic changes are small, but enough to make the home screen more appealing and easier to navigate.

Vista UMPC Screenshots: Can a New OS Save Origami?


Likewise, the Music and Video sections will also sport a new Windows Media Player 11 look as you can see from both images below (the first image is the old interface followed by the new Origami Experience UI).

Vista UMPC Screenshots: Can a New OS Save Origami?


Vista UMPC Screenshots: Can a New OS Save Origami?

Overall, the upgrade looks very promising and appears to fix some of the awkwardness found on early UMPCs. It's not clear whether any UMPC will be able to download the upgrade, but we'll report back on that as soon as we find out. Now all that needs to be addressed are the hardware and price of these UMPCs.

Ultra Mobile PCs to Get Vista Facelift [Ars Technica]