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 reader1 on 4/29/2010 7:26:45 PM , Rating: -1
I find it shameful that Microsoft has all these amazing ideas.. but doesn't decide to release any of them.

Courier was a terrible idea. 95% of the time, users would be using only one screen, making the other half just excess weight. And the stylus was just stupid. You would constantly be hitting things on the touchscreen accidentally with your hand while writing. You would have to write with your hand raised above the screen. Also, folding a tablet in half offers no real benefit.

Microsoft just heard Apple was making a tablet and they blindly followed. The unfocused design of Courier shows they didn't understand the purpose of Apple's tablet.

RE: Was never a real product
By Alexstarfire on 4/29/2010 8:28:18 PM , Rating: 4
I think you don't understand styluses (sp?) and why folding a tablet is useful. I can't say for sure with the courier device, but a stylus doesn't have to work the same way your hand does. IDK if you remember, since you have poor memory obviously, but PDAs for a long time used stylus as the only input method. Using your fingers was out of the question as it simply didn't work. Could you switch between using stylus and your hand reliably, IDK. I do know that for writing and drawing that a stylus is a must. Your finger is not a good substitute, it's simply too big.

For folding... you really don't see the benefit of covering the screen? You must actually be as dumb as you sound. I guess you also don't know anything about the PSP and DS either. This very argument came up when the PSP came out. In short, folding keeps the screens looking better for far longer since they won't get scratched.

I can understand your screen argument, but if you think about it the same could be said for a lot of screens. Honestly, how often are you actually looking at your whole screen? Apart from gaming and videos of course, since you'd be using both screens on the courier for that as well. For most tasks I rarely use up half my screen for my desktop. A bit bigger than either of the tablets for sure. One thing I could see being useful about having two screens would be that you could turn one side off when you don't need it. Can't do that with one large ass screen. Would be very useful for saving battery life. Interesting argument for sure, but it would really depend on how the dual screens get implemented.

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