Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Courier’

Microsoft Confirms End of ‘Courier’ Project ➝

Engadget reports that Microsoft has confirmed that “Courier” was a real project but that it will not be released to the market.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s VP of corporate communications:

At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It’s in Microsoft’s DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The “Courier” project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

This doesn’t surprise me all that much. Courier never really seemed like something that would have a broad market appeal. I can see that there would be those that would buy it and love it, but unfortunately the digital journal isn’t something that too many people would buy into. Although there was a lot of great things to demo in those leaked videos nothing really reached out and grabbed me as something I would really need.

Ballmer to Unveil ‘Slate-Type Computer’ Today ➝

Ashlee Vance, reporting for the New York Times, says that Microsoft and HP are planning to unveil a “slate-type computer” during Steve Ballmer’s keynote at CES this evening. Ashlee Vance’s source said that the device could be available by mid-year.

Everyone has seen Gizmodo’s piece on the Microsoft Courier. Whether this HP-made device is similar, or even the same device, is yet to be known.

If Ballmer actually plans to announce a tablet device less than a month before Apple is rumored to announce a similar device, it better be good.

Who knows, it could be awesome. But, Steve Jobs was right when he said:

Nobody wants a stylus.

Microsoft Courier

Update 1/6/10: Kara Swisher reports that Microsoft will certainly not be unveiling the Courier tablet. She says that Microsoft may be working on the Courier with HP but if a tablet is shown it won’t be much different than the tablet devices they’ve shown in the past.

The Ballmer keynote has ended and just as Kara Swisher said, the tablet (or slate as Microsoft is now calling them) was just a boring device running Windows 7. It’s not surprising, I didn’t really expect much innovation from this keynote. And honestly, did anyone else?

Microsoft Courier ➝

Microsoft Courier

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