The Origami Project. Definitely clever enough I suppose, but has it not occurred to Microsoft that they are still trying to work out a practical application for their Tablet PCs? Well, being that I have had a spectacular day today, I am going to spread a little sunshine. That’s right, through my ninja-like powers of grasping the obvious, I am going tell one of the world’s richest corporations how they can market both the Tablet PC along with this new Origami-thing with minimal work.

Who is your market?
Hey Microsoft! I am publicly giving you huge props on a killer viral marketing campaign. You really out did yourself with it and the results have been amazing. Just one problem, you have failed to define a clear market for your product.

When most of us think Office Suite, we think MS Office. Yes? Of course, they dominate the marketplace in this area. When you think Next-Gen Gaming console, you think Xbox 360 (sorry Sony, you’re late to market). And while they have done amazing things with the Xbox, it is also where they started to run into marketing trouble. Here we have an amazing gaming appliance. Not only were they first out the door, they also helped to define a gaming experience expectation. All and all, good stuff. But then someone thought it would make sense to make the leap from gaming appliance to home media appliance. For many people, this was a natural fit. More features and less blinking boxes! From a practical perspective, it was totally viable. But from a marketing perspective, no one really cares.

Look, if I was to go asking the folks lined up outside of major retailers if they were frothing at the mouth to take the home media features for a spin, I would be laughed at. So why did it work regardless? Simple, it was a fluff feature in a spectacular gaming machine. The Xbox is a top-notch gaming appliance that ‘happens’ to have home media center abilities. But in the end, it was the gaming experience that was needed. You could have easily left out the other crap. Sales and PR would have been just as spectacular as they are today.

Marketing with the obvious in mind.
And with the success of their gaming console, the poor Tablet is still struggling. Why? How in the heck can the big “M” who so successfully blew people away with a gaming console mess up so badly with the Tablet?

Well, I’ll tell you this. The #1 problem is that they failed to illustrate the need. Seriously, who could possibly use this Tablet PC much less an Origami machine?

Enter the laptop/notebook. Say it with me; note-book – lap-top. Do you see it? If not, I will explain: Just based on the name of the device alone, we can discern that this little rectangle is portable in addition to where we might place it for practical use. Why is it that one is selling like hotcakes and the Tablet is not? It’s called the concept of keyboard usage.

Students, business people, even oompa loompas have a grasp of the practical applications of the keyboard. When they visit a retailer (or Wonka’s general store), they can see themselves using this appliance in their world.

And of course, who can forget the PDA. They don’t offer us a keyboard, so how can we possibly use this? How did we see the real world applications of implementing it in our lives?

Playing Darwin.
With the PDA, its large size and limited abilities was the biggest hindrance in the beginning of its existence. And since its abilities were so limited way back when, what I am about to share would not have worked until now.

Fortunately for Microsoft, both the Tablet PC and the Origami project have plenty of ‘ability’. The size is not really such an issue, just so long as practical application is clearly defined and worked out. Just one issue though. How does one discover the practical applications for these Tablet-like devices?

Open Source Advertising.
The solution is obvious – Scoble. Not only is the guy already media hip, he’s just fun to stay in tune with in general. Microsoft needs put in him and Channel 9 in a situation where they pick 3-5 different scenarios in which to beta-test real world experiences with these devices. Some ideas might include a hospital, law offices, IT depts, and so on.

(In my best Rod Sterling guise) “Imagine if you will, a man and his crew trapped in a world where people don’t understand the value of the Tablet and the Origami PC.” I mean come on, the premise writes itself…

Each day would be documented and real life use would be recorded for the world to see. No cut scenes, all real footage. The response would be HUGE. Not only would the devices being used in real world applications be televised to people who might be interested in the visual benefit, but it would cost nothing short of the lending of the product and some production time. No old media ad campaign designed to bore us to death can offer this. Instead, the value of the device rockets beyond the perceived into video documented proof.

“OK, will it happen?”
To be honest, I could not care less. While I would love to see Scoble pick this up and go running to his superiors with glee, I doubt this will happen. Why? Because it is so obvious that it will likely be perceived as something that would not work. Then again…

New media challenge.
Hey MS, want to show us that you really are more hip than Google? Take the new media challenge! Not only will you rocket forth into the world of video podcasting with great success, you will also inadvertently provide the long sought after business model for the podcast distribution medium as well.

And lastly, we would finally manage to bring in the folks that believe that podcasting and video blogging is a waste of time into the loop. Definitive proof that user created content has practical value to even the most crotchety viewer.

Just a little food for thought…

[tags]sony,microsoft,xbox,ps3,origami,viral marketing,home media appliance,tablet pc[/tags]