Microsoft's Courier detailed, might arrive by Christmas

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Although it was first exposed last September, Microsoft's Courier tablet device has mostly been shrouded in secrecy -- until now. Engadget has received a handful of details from an "extremely trusted source." According to the unnamed tipster, the Courier will serve as a "digital journal," and is engineered for ultimate portability.

The device measures less than an inch thick, weighs just over a pound, and is similar in size to a 5x7 photo when closed. Under the hood is an Nvidia Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip (SoC), and other hardware includes a built-in camera and a headphone jack. Instead of Windows 7, the Courier reportedly runs the same operating system as the Zune HD, Pink, and Windows Mobile 7 Series.

Engadget scored a couple full-length HD videos of the interface. It seems to be pen-based with user input largely focused on drawing and writing, which is backed by handwriting recognition software. There is also word of a dedicated ecosystem for e-books and other reading material. It's speculated that the Courier will land sometime in the third or fourth quarter, but nothing is official.

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