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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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By damianrobertjones on 4/29/2010 6:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
In all honesty, I'd imagine that all the manufacturers wouldn't be too happy for MS to release such a device.

We nave a raft of i5/i7 tablet laptops on the way (Which Anandtech may review one day when not going on about apple :) with luck) with Windows 7 that offer reasonable battery life with real power, plus plenty of middle ground tablets from China.

If 'only' Archos had put a bit more time into the '9'. I, myself, should have an Archos 9 on its way to me next week as I have a suitable SSD drive in work along with a vLite custom Win7 image :)

Either way, its not much of a shock to know that the Courier has gone. Oh well, iPad owners will now be even more smug.

RE: Word
By mellomonk on 4/29/2010 6:36:32 PM , Rating: 2
We nave a raft of i5/i7 tablet laptops on the way (Which Anandtech may review one day when not going on about apple :) with luck) with Windows 7 ...

And I'm sure they will rock the market like the previous generations of tabletPCs. [/sarcasm] They will be nice upgrade for those few tablePC fans and certain vertical markets.

Big difference between an expensive tabletPC and an inexpensive consumer focused tablet device. Litterally Apples and Oranges.

RE: Word
By robinthakur on 4/30/2010 10:35:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I would say the device probably got canned because having two high quality screens like that made it too expensive and drained the battery too quickly rather than anything more sinister or MS giving up in the face of the iPad's success.

Windows 7 based tablet pc's are going to be a very limited market for the forseeable future until the whole form factor dies completely in 5 years IMO. Having used them for a long time, literally years since they first came out, they are too expensive, heavy and the OS is not optimised for touch and pen input well enough. The problem is NOT to do with processing power or lack of RAM or even the digitisers, its that the OS interface is not suited for touch based input (yes even W7 even with the DPI tweak) or the way in which people expect to be able to use them. They (and to a lesser extent Windows Mobile) were seen as acceptable only up until the iPhone came out and changed people's expectations of what a touch based system should offer.

Archos have put precisely all the time they usually do into a device, i.e. just enough to bring it to market and for the initial launch blitz, then start working on the new version if this one sells. I can't imagine why the 9 hasn't been a massive iPad-trouncing success though. Do you think perhaps its because most people do not have a spare SSD with a custom vLite Win7 image on it to install? Maybe? Not to worry, i'm sure all those "middle ground tablets from China" will probably beat the iPad. Seriously...

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