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.