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MS Courier could launch in 2011

MS Courier could launch in 2011

The Courier images leaked to Gizmodo last year certainly match the description of the prototype on the New York Times.

Rumours circulating the web suggest that Microsoft's Courier device could be hitting the shops as early as next year - despite a lack of firm commitment from the company.

Microsoft's Courier dual-screen concept tablet has been tempting the tech world for quite some time, but the company has been strangely reticent about producing an actual product - or even a physical prototype for people to lust after. While modders and hackers have been inspired by the rendered images available on the 'net to produce their own Courier-style devices, all indications were that Microsoft had shelved the concept.

The initial enthusiasm for Apple's slate form factor iPad may have changed Microsoft's mind, however: the New York Times has quoted an unnamed Microsoft employee as stating that a physical prototype of the Courier exists and is "about as big as an ordinary paperback and folds out to reveal two screens."

The description given by the employee certainly matches the pre-rendered concept video and images leaked to Gizmodo late last year, but is a little light on details to be taken completely at face value.

Concerns have been raised that the drain of running two screens will have a deleterious impact on the device's battery life, and Microsoft is allegedly struggling to decide exactly how to market a large, clamshell-style dual-screen device in a market that is split quite clearly between traditional netbooks and notebooks - with physical keyboards - and slate-style tablets - with a single touch-sensitive display. Despite this, the New York Times states confidently that "Microsoft engineers have talked about getting the Courier out by early 2011."

Do you believe that Microsoft is on the right track with the Courier, or is a dual-screen device a bad idea in a market that appears to be accepting slate-factor devices with open arms? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

21 Comments

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500mph 26th April 2010, 10:26 Quote
You know why I would buy this?
I would make it into a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
eddtox 26th April 2010, 11:04 Quote
I would buy it. Maybe MS is taking a leaf out of apple's book and keeping tight lipped until they're nearly on top of the release date.
Stelph 26th April 2010, 11:08 Quote
"as early as next year " How is next year early? Microsoft really dropped the ball here since the courier could have serious spanked the iPad if it was out now, as it is if they come out next year then the iPad will be in a massively dominant position.

Also, although no mock-ups of courier have been seen yet, there is a video of the codex project which then led into the Courier (according the the video) so there have been working models. Microsoft just didnt seem to realise what it was they had!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=049_U-0C9qU&feature=related
crazyceo 26th April 2010, 11:13 Quote
One of the negitives I hear from the iPad(Tampax) is it's size. Maybe this dual screen, close to look like a book design would fair better?

500mph is spot on, right out of the movie.
perplekks45 26th April 2010, 13:50 Quote
I find that idea a lot more interesting than the iPad...
Gryphon 26th April 2010, 14:31 Quote
couple of advantages of the clamshell over the ipad/tablet design is that the screen would be protected when you threw it into a bag, and you wouldn't need a stand to get a nice typing position.

It would be interesting if m$ used the dual LCD/Eink displays. Eink would be good for reading/showing keyboard, and help out the battery...

I'd be very intersted if the software and battery life etc hold their own.


+1 to the Hitchikers Guide, although i hated the film. books were much better :)
GoodBytes 26th April 2010, 16:36 Quote
[QUOTE=Gryphon[
It would be interesting if m$ used the dual LCD/Eink displays. Eink would be good for reading/showing keyboard, and help out the battery...[/QUOTE]

Interesting comment, but wrong company. If you read the article once more, you will notice that the comapny that those the Microsoft Courier is called: Microsoft.
HourBeforeDawn 26th April 2010, 16:38 Quote
ya I would go for this rather then an iPAD seems like a better concept
TSR2 26th April 2010, 16:50 Quote
For some reason I always thought of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as being a bit like my scientific calculator only larger. The Courier looks good though, and as long as it can last ~6hours that should be enough?
GoodBytes 26th April 2010, 16:53 Quote
They can put a battery in each screen.. it would be heavy though.
RichCreedy 26th April 2010, 16:53 Quote
microsoft have to give apple a chance, otherwise they might be accused of being anti competetive ;)

i would buy one if i had the dosh
BLC 26th April 2010, 17:24 Quote
I've been more interested in this concept than any other tablet/slate, netbook or any other manner of portable device. Battery life is really going to be the key for this device.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 500mph
You know why I would buy this?
I would make it into a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Absolute win!
tron 26th April 2010, 17:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stelph
"as early as next year " How is next year early? Microsoft really dropped the ball here since the courier could have serious spanked the iPad if it was out now, as it is if they come out next year then the iPad will be in a massively dominant position.

Also, although no mock-ups of courier have been seen yet, there is a video of the codex project which then led into the Courier (according the the video) so there have been working models. Microsoft just didnt seem to realise what it was they had!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=049_U-0C9qU&feature=related

Microsoft usually sleep on their own products until Apple get a good head start. If released now, this product could put a damper on the iPax.
UncertainGod 26th April 2010, 17:42 Quote
I've always viewed this type of design as far superior to the single screen approach of the iPad and it's coming clones and surely a decent ARM cpu package mixed with OLED screens wouldn't be that bad for battery life vs one giant screen would it?
Hazchem 26th April 2010, 17:47 Quote
The Hitchhiker's guide is already here: http://xkcd.com/548/
DbD 26th April 2010, 18:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
They can put a battery in each screen.. it would be heavy though.

Better to put the battery in the bottom screen - then the weight will keep it sitting in your lap (use bottom screen as keyboard), or make it much easier to hold as a book (you can hold it one handed much more easily if the weight is all on one side).
Azayles 26th April 2010, 19:19 Quote
Don't buy this just yet, the Courier New should be along soon.
Hazchem 26th April 2010, 19:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azayles
Don't buy this just yet, the Courier New should be along soon.

Wonderful.
BLC 27th April 2010, 06:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azayles
Don't buy this just yet, the Courier New should be along soon.

Hi face, I'd like you to meet palm ;)
Azayles 27th April 2010, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
Hi face, I'd like you to meet palm ;)
That was bad wasn't it :p
PureSilver 27th April 2010, 16:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryphon
It would be interesting if m$ used the dual LCD/Eink displays. Eink would be good for reading/showing keyboard, and help out the battery...

^ This. There's not much I can think of that you would want to do on two OLED colour screens - certainly not watch a movie or anything, unless maybe you wanted a photo on one and then colour editing tools on the other, but it's a bit small for that, no? Much better to have an eBook/keyboard in one half, and a 'screen' (movies, games, Office) in the other. Hell, if it's leather-bound and tough, I'd have one like a shot.
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