Gizmodo has published details on Microsoft’s “Courier.” Gizmodo is calling it a “booklet,” but it is basically a tablet with two 7-inch (or so) displays that folds open and closed, like a book.
The device uses finger gestures and a stylus (who wants a stylus?), with a focus on writing. The back of the device has a camera while the side has wireless signal and battery indicators.
The design of the device, both hardware and software, reminds me a lot of the Zune. Which is a good thing. The user interface is beautifully designed and although I’m not a fan of the hinge the hardware looks attractive as well.
The video leads me to believe that Courier will be marketed as a journal-esque device, where you would take notes and jot down ideas. You can place photos, parts of web pages, and your own notes in a “journal” to save for later reference.
It’s worth noting that all of the images are clearly design mockups and other than Gizmodo’s assertion that the device is in “the ‘late prototype’ stage of development” there isn’t any way of knowing when this product is going to come out, how much it will cost, or how close it is to an official announcement. “Late prototype stage” could mean a lot.
I wish that I loved this device more. But, after watching the video a few times the amazement I had about the design and the interface subsided and I realized that I don’t really want a journal. What I want is a tablet that focuses on web browsing and media consumption. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this sold to students as a way of taking notes and managing assignments, but I don’t know if this electronic journal will capture the hearts of the general public, I just don’t see the use case for the Average Joe.
Update 9/30/09: Gizmodo has published another video along with additional details regarding the Microsoft Courier.
The heart of Courier appears to what’s called the ‘infinite journal,’ which is what it sounds like: A journal/scrapbook that is endless, bound only by storage constraints (presumably). […] The journal can actually be published online, and it’s shown here as able to be downloaded in three formats: a Courier file, Powerpoint or PDF.
There has been some question as to what exactly Courier runs for its operating system, Mary Jo Foley, writing for ZDNet, claims that it is running Windows 7, at least in its current form.
Update 11/8/09: Gizmodo has published images detailing Courier’s interface, gestures, and features.
Update 1/6/10: Ballmer to Unveil ‘Slate-Type Computer’ Today