Microsoft has officially launched the Origami Project this morning at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany.

As leaked yesterday, the device is a new category of mobile computing devices that features small, lightweight, carry-everywhere hardware designs.

The UMPC's (Ultra-Mobile PCs) as they have been labelled, promise to have the full functionality of a Microsoft Windows-based PC and a choice of input options, including enhanced touch-screen capabilities.

Microsoft has confirmed that they support mobile-tuned user interface features such as touch, pen and dedicated buttons as well as keyboards for convenient access to Windows-based applications on-the-go.

“The 'Origami' project is really our first step toward achieving a big vision. We believe that UMPCs will eventually become as indispensable and ubiquitous as mobile phones are today", said Bill Mitchell, Corporate Vice President, Windows Mobile Platforms Division.

Microsoft has also said that to be classed as a UMPC, devices will weigh less than 2 pounds (.9 kilo), have a 7-inch screen size that offers the user a choice of text input methods and a touch-enhanced display that can be used as an on-screen QWERTY keyboard.

UMPC devices will also have to have a battery life of at least two and a half hours or more, and feature 30-60GB harddrive for storage, with Intel Celeron M, Intel Pentium M or VIA C7-M processors.

They can also input content with a traditional keyboard, linked either by USB port or wireless Bluetooth connectivity.

Some devices may include additional built-in features such as GPS, a webcam, fingerprint reader, digital TV tuners, and compact flash and SD card readers. UMPCs can be connected through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet networks. Some UMPCs will be able to connect via wide-area networking.

According to Microsoft the pricing will be determined by the manufacturer, however it expects them to be in the region of US$599-$999.