Print 56 comment(s) - last by Friendly0Fire.. on May 3 at 1:15 AM

Courier, we hardly knew ye

In what is likely a knife through the heart for a lot of tech enthusiasts out there, Gizmodo is reporting that Microsoft has killed plans for its Courier tablet. We first caught wind of Courier back in September of 2009 and were quickly intrigued by its innovative user interface and dual-display "book" layout.

It should be noted that Microsoft never officially announced that it would build Courier or said that the tablet was anything more than a extremely promising design concept. So it shouldn't be too surprising that we won't see a finished product on store shelves.

Apparently, Microsoft has more pressing projects on its mind (namely, getting Windows Phone 7 out the door on schedule). Gizmodo received the following statement from Microsoft's Frank Shaw on the cancellation of the Courier program:

At any given time, we're looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them. It's in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity. The Courier project is an example of this type of effort. It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

With Microsoft seemingly out of the "slimmed-down OS" tablet market, Apple is left to take on all rivals with its iPad. Google is working on an Android-based tablet of its own, and we know that HP is going to milk its purchase of Palm for all it's worth and develop a tablet running webOS.

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RE: Was never a real product
By Proxes on 4/29/2010 5:42:57 PM , Rating: 5
The Apple name is the only reason the iPad was successful. If any other company released the device it wouldn't sell.

The iLemmings will make everything Apple does successful.

RE: Was never a real product
By lightfoot on 4/29/2010 5:50:53 PM , Rating: 1
The Apple name is the only reason the iPad was successful.

Possible - but it was executed fairly well. I almost considered buying one myself, until I learned all the things it couldn't do.

For years I've wanted a tablet computer (too much Star Trek I guess) but have never found a device that fit what I was looking for. The iPad is VERY close, but I'll probably give it another year or so before jumping into the market.

My biggest criteria is that it must replace my other computers. The iPad can't (yet) do that.

RE: Was never a real product
By MadMan007 on 4/29/2010 6:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
What you want exists in the form of convertible tablets (OK, they can't replace high powered desktops...) you just have to pay up for it.

RE: Was never a real product
By themaster08 on 4/30/2010 2:27:00 AM , Rating: 2
Possible - but it was executed fairly well. I almost considered buying one myself, until I learned all the things it couldn't do.

You see, that's the thing. Because the blind masses don't learn what it can't do, they just go ahead and buy one anyway. It doesn't matter to them, as long as their self-consciousness is portrayed as less fallible by their peers. If it was any other compny, it would be the downsides that the media point out most.

Take for example Microsoft's new mobile OS. Most of the media attention surrounding the new OS is based around its shortcomings, yet very little in comparison is said on what it can actually do.

I guess because it looks pretty then that's enough to buy it. Shallow-minded devices for shallow-minded thinkers. That's all Apple does well.

RE: Was never a real product
By robinthakur on 4/30/2010 9:38:40 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, bitchy geeks out of touch with reality, that's novel...Whilst this should be obvious to most people above the age of 12 it does bear saying. Basically Apple knows its market and the iPad is a different device to a netbook, traditional tablet pc etc in that it is deliberately limited, and used a sandboxed OS built from the ground up foor a multi-touch system, and this is seen as a very GOOD thing to the typical person it is targeted at. This person wants an appliance that can safely browse the internet, view photos/books, check mail etc. which always just works, battery life allowing. This is what sells because people want it. The easiest way to do that is to have a proprietary OS which is very locked down and restrictions on what can be installed on it.

Now that doesn't make them blind masses, as you condescendingly say, that just means that they are using the device as a means to an end (as a tool) and not getting hung up on whether they can jailbreak it or install the latest Android/Ubuntu Kernel etc. on it. Most people in this world, I would think, do not buy laptops, phones or really any tech so that other people will see their "self-consciousness as less fallible" what a weird world you live in...they presumably use them for a purpose and have lives.

You say that you champion positivity in terms of what's reported on what Microsoft's mobile OS 7 can do. What can it do that its competitors cannot? In contrast to this fact, note that by the time it is released it won't have multi-tasking or external Flash support, which actually is a pretty major deal as this is what has historically differentiated Apple's devices from the competition.

Obviously a closed off sandboxed OS is not for everybody. Apple positions its products ignoring the existence of its competitors nearly completely. If its not for you then buy something else!

Obviously HP and MS have decided that the critical reaction and sales interest in its Courier and Slate POC just weren't there and have canned the projects for business reasons. No sane company simply releases tech because it looks cool, and has a high technical spec anymore, it needs to sell. With the global success of the iPhone lineage and iPod etc as well as the growing Mac sales, people are more familiar with and have certain expectations when it comes to touch screen devices and User interface design, which perhaps Windows 7 (great as it is as a desktop OS) cannot match in a portable touch screen format only device. Therefore its not really a case of "Shallow-minded devices for Shallow-minded thinkers" its the needs of the many vs the needs of the few.

RE: Was never a real product
By reader1 on 4/29/10, Rating: -1
RE: Was never a real product
By StevoLincolnite on 4/30/2010 12:58:37 AM , Rating: 2
If Apple doesn't have any talent and they're kicking the crap out of everyone, that means their competitors are even more incompetent.

All to often I see a company release only an "Average" at best product or service, yet it's the best seller.

Why you might ask?


People believe what they see on the TV/Radio/Newspaper/Magazines and other media on how good a device is.

Take Intel and the Pentium 4 as an example, they had a slower, more power hungry and heat producing product than the competition, yet they still sold several multiples more processors than AMD.

So I wouldn't call the competitors incompetent, more often than not it's the consumer not researching or not knowing of alternatives.

RE: Was never a real product
By robinthakur on 4/30/2010 9:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well I would agree with some of what you say, but in reality, the same tools available to Apple are available to all companies that release a product. Namely PR, marketing, decent design, polish and proper market segmentation. The devices that fail to sell like Asus's/Arcos' tablets, everybody else's MP3 players fail for reasons (Poor reviews Cluttered Layout, bad software, little to no marketing resulting in zero brand awareness and trust or non existent support) They might not be able to spend as much as Apple on those things, but if a product is good and people know about it, it will sell. The concept that people believe what they see, hear or read is not a new one...and shouldn't really surprise anyone should it?

People tend to value reccomendation of friends family etc. higher than what the manufacturer says at the end of the day, despite what Apple-haters might suppose, so Apple's position as being the most respected brand amongst the buying public has been earned over many years, and not just given to them on a platter.

For the record I went with AMD around the time with the Pentium 4 and only came back to Intel once the Core was released, no brand loyalty here!

RE: Was never a real product
By lightfoot on 4/30/2010 11:48:38 AM , Rating: 2
Apple's position as being the most respected brand amongst the buying public has been earned over many years

Earned in the same way that politicians earn their respect. Through a concerted marketing campaign of lies, misinformation, and half-truths.

Mud-slinging works as well in marketing as it does in politics.

RE: Was never a real product
By ImSpartacus on 4/29/2010 7:34:38 PM , Rating: 3
I agree Apple rarely innovates, and when they genuinely do (Apple TV, iPad) it doesn't always work out well.

However, when Apple releases a product, it's almost always very polished.

Take everyone's favorite iPad for example. The touch software on the iPad is absolutely phenomenal. The battery life is fantastic. The overall package seems very polished. I cannot say the same for the current crop of tablets.

But does exceptional polish make the core usage worth while? Not always. That's where I think Apple has faltered. The iPad looks pretty and works well, but it doesn't really do anything.

RE: Was never a real product
By kmmatney on 4/30/2010 5:17:50 PM , Rating: 2
I;'m not sure the iPad needs to do much. Its a data consuming device, rather than a data creation device. You can browse the web, email, read e-books, wtach a movie, text, play music, play games, learn a new language (theres an App for that), while sitting on an arm chair in the living room. For most people, the iPad does "enough". It won't replace a real computer, but it can sure make you use a real computer a lot less.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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