The Amazon Kindle is an interesting e-Reader, but it’s too locked into Amazon’s system and file formats. I prefer Sony’s Reader as far as e-Readers go because they embraced open formats in response to Kindle’s competition, but still it’s a fairly limited function device. Apple’s iPad does not interest me at all. HP’s Slate is closer to what I would want, but it seems built for more casual browsing where I would rather have a notebook or netbook. Microsoft’s Courier, however, is very intriguing to me.
Update: Sadness! Microsoft has taken its first official action with the Courier and canceled it. (via ZDNet)
It’s hard to talk about the Courier because it doesn’t even have an official webpage with the information that I can link to. Instead, Microsoft seems to be leaking information to Engadget or Gizmodo about the device every once in a while. I guess I’ll have to be part of that rumor mill to have a chance of Microsoft sending me an early demo unit for review. There’s no word why Microsoft is playing this one so close to their chest, but I imagine it’s the same reason the HP Slate has been loitering around lately: adapting their device to beat the iPad for technical specs and price point.
We’re told Courier will function as a “digital journal,” and it’s designed to be seriously portable: it’s under an inch thick, weighs a little over a pound, and isn’t much bigger than a 5×7 photo when closed.
It’s not a tablet, it’s a booklet. The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers. They’re connected by a hinge that holds a single iPhone-esque home button. Statuses, like wireless signal and battery life, are displayed along the rim of one of the screens. On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre.
the internals apparently reflect that emphasis on mobility: rather than Windows 7, we’re told the Courier is built on Tegra 2 and runs on the same OS as the Zune HD, Pink, and Windows Mobile 7 Series, which we’re taking to mean Windows CE 6.
Two screens, a mashup of a pen-dominated interface with several types of multitouch finger gestures, and multiple graphically complex themes, modes and applications. (Our favorite UI bit? The hinge doubles as a “pocket” to hold items you want move from one page to another.)
and in depth with Gestures, Clip, Tuck, Paste, The Pen, and More.
Available: Q3/Q4 -ish
Add one to my wish list.