new device was developed with positively Apple-like secrecy.
Only a handful of engineers worked on or were aware of the device,
whose development was led by Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices
tech chief and user-experience chief J. Allard. The device is
almost finished, with Microsoft currently refining the user interface
experience of the "late prototype" and showing it to
The "Courier" touchscreen
prototype features a book-like design with two 7" screens --
kind of like a jumbo Nintendo DSi. Both screens support
multitouch, and you can write with either your fingers or a stylus.
The UI features traditional multitouch flair like flick gestures to
trigger actions. The GUI has battery and wireless signal
indicators by the rim of one of the screens, keeping them
unobtrusive. A particularly slick aspect of the UI is that
images can be moved to the hinge "pocket" to transfer them
between screens with ease.
The device also features a built-in
camera on its back. As no wires were seen, its rumored to
charge using induction, somewhat like the Palm Touchstone charging
dock for the Pre smart phone. Overall the device is smaller (7"
vs. 10") than the expected Apple device, but features a very
slick and chic look. Expect the device to potentially take on
e-book readers like the Kindle as well, as its interface seems
perfect for reading on the go.
As with the Zune and Xbox
before it, the Courier seems to be advancing rapidly through the
phase of Microsoft seeking outside help to round of the device's
features, software, and to develop service packages for it.
details are forthcoming on the product. It seems that with the
release of the much-anticipated Zune
HD, Microsoft's hardware division is eager to keep on a roll.