Microsoft’s Courier: Concept or Product?

By  |  Friday, March 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Remember “Courier,” the cool Microsoft dual-screen concept tablet which Gizmodo uncovered last September? It’s back. This time, it’s Engadget that’s published Courier imagery, including a photo and new screens and videos.

Until now, there’s been no evidence that Courier was anything more than a slick idea that might or might not ever turn into a product–sort of like Apple’s Knowledge Navigator from 1987. But Engadget’s source talked about details that, if true, mean that Courier is indeed in the works. It’s supposedly based on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor and will show up in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

If so, neat–but for now, Courier doesn’t feel very tangible. The videos are animations that look like they were done in Flash; the screens don’t look real; even the photograph might be a mockup of some sort. Until Microsoft says something or more solid materials leak out, it’s tough to know what to think.

I’m a fan of genuinely new ideas in user interfaces, and Courier is full of them. I’m intrigued, however, by the fact that the whole idea seems to center around the idea that folks want to create handwritten digital notes. That was also the theory behind the Tablet PC, a product which Microsoft thought would come to dominate the notebook market–but which never really took off.

I remain skeptical about there being a critical mass of people who want to take notes with a stylus and then look at their own handwriting forever after. Of course Courier, in concept form, looks to be about a hundred times more elegant than the Tablet PC, so maybe it could be the breakthrough that the Tablet turned out not to be. I hope we get the chance to find out…

 
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6 Comments For This Post

  1. dogcow Says:

    It’s a beautiful device, but the videos hardly show anything beyond the notebook idea. The commands are unintuitive, and the animated hand just seems to pull actions out of thin air. Seems like you’ll have to bring along the manual. Is there going to be a general UI? Also there don’t seem to be any third party application, and even Microsoft apps (PDA, music, video, e-mail, etc.) are barely mentioned. I think I’d get tired of always writing with the pen. Seems like Courier is still a barely formed concept, and, if that’s the case, I think Microsoft will take at least a year (or two or three) to come out with a shipping product.

  2. Steve Says:

    If something like this is done right (like the Knowledge Navigator), the concepts of Apps just does not fit. It would be like wanting to type:

    > dir C:

    to see your files. Yes, you can still do that (or “ls-l” o a mac) but why?

    I agree the gestures look like they are “magic” changing meaning without direction depending on what the user happens to want. Conceptually, however, it is pretty cool.

  3. Adam Deane Says:

    It is a great device and it shows that the creative teams at Microsoft are starting to develop a new generation of great products

    http://adamdeane.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/microsoft-bashing/

  4. Tom B Says:

    It’s a placeholder for the investors, to make it look like they are busy at work in Redmond.

  5. ed Says:

    Why show all your cards before your product is out? They are over-hyping a non-existent product when they should be gathering their best minds, including Bill’s, to make this happen ASAP before Google steals their idea and calls it Google Tablet… I’m not a big fan of Google doing anything but search, and think they should just let Apple and MS do their thing, because as much as I’ve wanted to use Google Mail and Google Docs for everything, they always fall short. We need something in between the traditional MS software and the Google online stuff; MS is in a better position to do this sooner and better than Google. Google is an amateur in the OS and word processing field, and it shows. I don’t have the patience to wait for Google to ‘mature’. Which is why I’m hoping… praying… for MS to wake up and make a product that will fill this gap rather than delay delay delay…

  6. Gracie Hayes Says:

    one of the best things to incorporate with Stress Management is meditation and deep breating exercises.~~;

3 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Más detalles sobre Courier, el tercer iPad Killer de Microsoft | MuyWindows Says:

    [...] Algunos analistas no están demasiado convencidos de estas especificaciones ya que los datos e imágenes que se tienen del dispositivo parecen más bocetos que el reflejo de un modelo real. De hecho la experta blogger Mary Jo Foley anunció en su día que Courier podría funcionar bajo Windows 7 y plataforma Intel, un supuesto que no descarta a pesar de las informaciones que ha obtenido Engadget. Las capacidades multitáctiles de la nueva versión de Windows y su buen funcionamiento con plataformas portátiles (como se demuestra con el HP Slate que sí utilizará Windows 7) hacen que Foley no se pueda desechar definitivamente esta posibilidad. [...]

  2. Stress Management Concepts: Your Thoughts Create Your Feelings Says:

    [...] Microsoft's Courier: Concept or Product? [...]

  3. Más detalles sobre Courier, el tercer iPad Killer de Microsoft | Tutoriales de Informática Says:

    [...] Algunos analistas no están demasiado convencidos de estas especificaciones ya que los datos e imágenes que se tienen del dispositivo parecen más bocetos que el reflejo de un modelo real. De hecho la experta blogger Mary Jo Foley anunció en su día que Courier podría funcionar bajo Windows 7 y plataforma Intel, un supuesto que no descarta a pesar de las informaciones que ha obtenido Engadget. Las capacidades multitáctiles de la nueva versión de Windows y su buen funcionamiento con plataformas portátiles (como se demuestra con el HP Slate que sí utilizará Windows 7) hacen que Foley no se pueda desechar definitivamente esta posibilidad. [...]

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