Microsoft axes the dual-screen Courier tablet

By on April 29, 2010, 6:26 PM
Microsoft has announced that it's axed the much-anticipated Courier tablet. The innovative dual-display slate emerged last September, but apparently never made it past incubation. The news comes as a bit of a shock, because the project seemed promising -- especially after a few video demonstrations of the interface turned up online in March.

Redmond's Frank Shaw today confirmed to Gizmodo that the Courier project is no more. Shaw said that Microsoft is constantly looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, and incubating them, and the Courier project is an example of that effort. He noted that while the Courier itself will never come to fruition, its technology might be used in future offerings.

Many saw the Courier as a perfect fit for Microsoft's "three screens and a cloud" vision. It was supposedly powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip, and rumors pegged it for a late 2010 or early 2011 debut. The device was touted as a "digital journal" largely focused on pen-based user input, such as drawing and writing, which was backed by handwriting recognition software.

User Comments: 11

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Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I do often wonder if they have any clue over at Microsoft HQ. A lot of their decisions never quite make sense.

treeski treeski said:

Ohhhh this is quite the disappointment. I hope this technology makes it on to the market in one way or another. I'll wait and see...

Guest said:

I don't know about you guys, but it seems Microsoft realized that they wouldn't be a rival for the unexpected iPad. They decided to pull out of a competition that would have had the same outcome anyway: iPad wins.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pity. Looked cooler than an iPad.

JudaZ said:

Why??? I wanted to buy one of those. ... a lot better then a crappy ipad

enocheed said:

Well thats what you get when you hire from apple. Your new hire scraps would be successful gadgets.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

What a shame.This is the coolest, most innovative device microsoft has come up with in years... I was really looking forward to adding one of these to my collection of gadgets.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Looked cool, but my guess is that they took a long look at the potential consumer cost and found that it wasn't going to be viable at a pricepoint that most consumers would be interested.

Guest said:

What the HELL are they thinking? The Courier is by far the best idea I've seen for a tablet computer. I was ready to buy TWO of them.

Will someone please go kick Balmer's *** for me? This has to be the worst decision of his career.

Guest said:

Its possible that this design was invented by Nintendo or OLPC project (XO-2 prototype) since they were announced long time ago

Still sad Courier did not make it into market or other companies do not make something similar. Comparing to iPad, its better form-factor for reading ebooks (feels more like paper book).

Also if those two separate screens could optionally work as one virtual desktop extended for two monitors than it would give lets say 1240x1024 monitor. That would be better for reading many web-sites which do not fit into iPad's 1024x758 screen. If Courier could also rotate screen orientation as iPad does, than the screen 1024x 1240 which would would fit in whole page A4. It would be almost as convenient for reading large Word or .pdf articles as paper printout when the device is opened while being compact and mobile when closed. Plus no more painfully small letters and annoying scrolling of smartphones, netbooks , or iPad.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

vaporware from Microsoft? I'm shocked...

*rolls eyes*

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