Microsoft may be more advanced than we thought in the development of a new portable product called “Origami,”.

There is now a possibility that the product could be launched this month in Germany at the European CeBit Show.Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has now said that that an event will take place on March 09 2006.

The site, www.origamiproject.com, surfaced last week with photos and text telling visitors that more information would be available today. Microsoft has confirmed that the mysterious campaign represents a portable device which will also act as a home automation controller, but has released no further details.

If the “Origami” hardware is made by Microsoft, the move will represent a shift within the company. Executives have repeatedly touted Microsoft’s success as a software maker, and said that the company is not in the hardware business.

Analysts have speculated that “Origami” will be a lightweight computer running the Windows XP operating system, though some have guessed that it could be a portable version of the Xbox 360 gaming system. Still others believe the device will be a music player, or even a phone.

A year-old concept video for the device discovered on the Internet last week depicts a laptop-like design with a tiny form-factor. If the device is indeed a compact computer, it will compete with devices from Nokia , Toshiba and a product from a company called OQO. None of those devices, however, has met with much success.

Pricey portable computers have been moderately popular among technology enthusiasts, but haven’t seen mass-market appeal. Instead, consumers and corporate buyers in need of a mobile e-mail solution have turned to smart phones, which represent a burgeoning market with devices from Research in Motion Palm (nasdaq: PALM and Hewlett-Packard.

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