Microsoft's Courier detailed, might arrive by Christmas

By on March 5, 2010, 5:11 PM
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.

User Comments: 33

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Fragrant Coit Fragrant Coit said:

I wonder how good the Handwriting recognition is?

What if you are a Doctor?

ourboyblue said:

<What if you are a Doctor?>

if your a doctor you don't care, you don't have to read it.

It looks nice, seems like a huge step up from apple's pad and phone os.

ourboyblue said:

Oh, I forgot, yeah, I want one.

danteoz said:

I wonder how much one will cost, i've been looking at different tablets,hopefully they will beat out Apple in price, since it could easily beat the OS

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Very impressive, I'd actually own one. Let's hope they release it world wide at launch and not US only. I'd own a HD Zune if they were available in Canada.

Chazz said:

I hope it is compatible with a keyboard. As cool as writing on this device seems, it is much faster to type that url than that person took to write it.

Browsing would be too slow if it were handwritten.

theoscentral said:

Whoa, I like how the pages get smaller when you activate the search!!! Sweet!

Guest said:

thats it...? this is gona beat the ipad?......

Guest said:

All they have to do to beat ipad is make it more lifestyle enhancing then the ipad. Id much rather be able to use this as a fully functional comp downloading streaming ect. make it have all the things ipad lacks dont charge me 200$ extra to surf the web dont jail me to only microsoft products and last of all kick apples butt into the ground they have gone on to long unanswered......... go Microsoft!!!!

seefizzle said:

A giant Iphone, or a sweet courier tablet? Somehow I think this courier will be a sweeter piece of hardware. It will probably have a bigger hard drive and more ram because Apple hasn't figured out that these components are cheap. I saw this thing a while ago. I would buy one.

elroacho72 said:

Any thing but an ipad. I think Microsoft is answering Apple's Ipad quite nicely here.

Guest said:

windows 7 handwriting recognition is excellent , so if anything like that it will be awesome.

Guest said:

Very nice tablet! The best so far, very nice touch gestures.

Guest said:

Funny, and the PC in the background running XP + IE6?? :)

Puiu Puiu said:

It has a really cool interface, but it seems too focused on books. A more windows design would have been better.

megrawab said:

This would be more useful for busy people so that they could carry their schedule with ease and mobility. The input method is gives less fatigue. Do you also have an update on Microsoft's project Gazelle? Present articles state that this browser project would surpass the performance of all other browsers in the present.

princeton princeton said:

I hope this will crush the ipad into tiny pieces. The lack of freedom on apple mobile devices such as the ipod,iphone and ipad is astounding and jailbreaking is pretty much the only way to go.

Guest said:

I think its more of a digital notepad with internet access than anything else and well, I have yet to find a device which can possible be a good replacement as a pen and paper notepad.

The Ipad is more of a giant Ipod touch in my honest opinion.

Yoda8232 said:

Priceton has got most of my thoughts covered, if this is executed right with great features, customization, self upgrade ability, a great app selection like Firefox's add-ons or the Apple store, and the right price the iPad will fall most definitely.

NightAngel79 said:

Looks like a cool device. If the price is reasonable enough i would buy one in a heartbeat.

Serag said:

Cool tablet, sweet features and nice gestures

I hope the handwriting recognition is decent, it will have good connectivity options and a reasonable price..

pipopaz said:

Now thats is innovation! Hope I can get one this year.

jacob007 said:

So, the real question is.....

Is 2 Big iPod touches better than 1 Big iPod Touch?

AfricanTech said:

It looks very good - better than ipad - traditionally MS products attract good third party support. And it mimics a book for reading - i.e. two pages side by side - I mean when last have you read a book that is a single page!

Horrible music in the endgadget video though - I mean really, you could hardly hear the narrator.

zaidpirwani said:

I hope that this doesn't become a disappointment... and I would love this even more if it also featured a SIM dock, to place my SIM inside it and use it as a PHONE as well, cause in my opinion, laptops/tablets and other mobile devices all should have a phone inside them (somewhere)

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

jacob007 said:

So, the real question is.....

Is 2 Big iPod touches better than 1 Big iPod Touch?

Heh, my sentiments exactly. All of the anti-iPad crowds are complaining about how it is just a bigger iPod/iPhone... And here is Microsoft's answering shot, basically just a bigger Zune/Win7 Mobile device. Really, Microsoft? Really?

Well, I guess it's a case of fighting fire with fire, instead of bringing napalm and winning.

pipopaz said:

I don't think the courier is just a bigger zune for one reason: the interference seems to be built for the device itself. Yeah it is similar to the zune and the new mobile but it has its own features for the pen and this is how it differs from the ipad. As everyone knows the ipad runs ipod/iphone os and doesn't improve itself in any way (no flash/multi-task/pen.)

fref said:

Cool gadget, but I fail to see why we need this. But that's just me, I guess some people will prefer this to a laptop. By the time it's out, though, Apple might have "fixed" the iPad, so we'll see which one is better. Although, from what I've read, they seem to stand by their decision not to support Flash on the iPad, so that's a big disadvantage for them right there.

natefalk natefalk said:

I can see how these will be useful. Not only as an entertainment platform, but also for business and educational purposes. When I was in school, I always wanted an all-in-one textbook and notepad... I'm sure everyone knows how much fun it is to haul around 30+ lbs. of school books.

I might consider buying one if it allows me to watch videos on my home network. The only down-side to this thing is going to be the price. I'm guessing 100-200 more expensive than the iPad b/c of the second screen.

levar said:

interesting, this just looks like something that focused more towards business and designers than just normal users that does everyday computing. From what've read it just has a camera and a headphone jack, hopefully we can add more storage space to it. But from engaget's video its very neat and I think it will do a lot better than the iPad a lot better.

TuesdayExpress said:

God, I've been lusting after this ever since the first shots hit Engadget a few months ago. Absolutely thrilled to finally start hearing that it wasn't an R&D blue-sky mockup!

buttus said:

Hopefully this isn't another underpowered, relatively useless device like the iPad. The graphics chip, HD video and integrated camera are all features missing from the iPad so this gives me some hope. For myself as a photographer, I would LOVE a portable device which would allow me to show people my portfolio and just wow them.

techsp10 said:

It's very much confidential... I agree that maybe it will beat up ipad sonner...

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