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Microsoft Scraps Dual-Screen Tablet, the Courier

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 26 comments

Microsoft has reportedly scrapped its Courier dual-screen tablet completely.

Microsoft's dual-screen tablet was first uncovered by Gizmodo back in September of last year. Packing two 7-inch (ish) displays that were connected by a hinge, the device incorporated a mix of capacitive and resistive touch. In an odd move for a company who has yet to confirm a product, or even comment on reports regarding the product, Microsoft kind of confirmed the Courier in a job posting that mentioned the device by name and linked to an article on Engadget which contained what it claimed were exclusive pictures and videos of the product. The posting was soon edited but not soon enough.

MSFT job listing (prior to editing):

"Do you already know everything about Project Natal and the Cloud? Is Blaise Aguera y Arcas' jaw-dropping TED talk on augmented-reality Bing Maps and Photosynth last month's news? Then check out some of the online chatter surrounding new releases of Window Phone 7 series handsets, Internet Explorer 9 and the upcoming Courier digital journal."

While some would see this as a clear confirmation that the Courier is real and on the way, it looks like we may never see the dual-screen tablet. Gizmodo cites sources familiar with the matter who say Microsoft execs informed the internal team that had been working on the tablet device that the project would no longer be supported.

When contacted by Giz, Microsoft's Corporate VP of Communications Frank Shaw had the following statement:

At any given time, we're looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them. It's in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity. The Courier project is an example of this type of effort. It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

Though the Courier had never been mentioned by Microsoft in public (the above slip up aside), a lot of people will be disappointed that this project has been scrapped.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 30, 2010 12:14 AM
    vantSaw the iPad and probably thought they couldn't compete.


    Perhaps, but I doubt it. Either way it's sad. I know a lot of people who would prefer one of these over an iPad.
  • 19 Hide
    mavanhel , April 30, 2010 12:13 AM
    NOO!!!!!

    This was exactly the thing I want as a student. You could have a text book on screen while taking notes on the other. It's really too bad this is being scrapped.
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    Display all 26 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    matchboxmatt , April 30, 2010 12:12 AM
    It looks really nice, but they're probably trying to focus their efforts on pushing Windows 7 Mobile. As sweet as it looks, it'd just be another "me too" product that'd end up as a cash sink. I think it's smart that they're trying to migrate away from that.
  • 19 Hide
    mavanhel , April 30, 2010 12:13 AM
    NOO!!!!!

    This was exactly the thing I want as a student. You could have a text book on screen while taking notes on the other. It's really too bad this is being scrapped.
  • 22 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 30, 2010 12:14 AM
    vantSaw the iPad and probably thought they couldn't compete.


    Perhaps, but I doubt it. Either way it's sad. I know a lot of people who would prefer one of these over an iPad.
  • 2 Hide
    vic20 , April 30, 2010 12:19 AM
    Damn....

    I've wanted this style of device since Palm Pilot IIIx were new and these pics seem much more elegant than MSI dual screen tablet. Guess I'l keep dreaming :( 
  • 4 Hide
    chunkymonster , April 30, 2010 12:26 AM
    What a shame. This is actually one tablet device I would have purchased. More like an electronic notebook than a tablet, split screen much more handy too.
  • 3 Hide
    tpi2007 , April 30, 2010 12:31 AM
    It's a wonderful concept in my opinion, but the reason it's halted right now is probably because they were confronted with two problems:

    1. A normal LED screen would consume too much energy, and so two OLED screens would have to be used, but that would probably be too expensive.

    2. The battery would have to give the same 10 hour as the iPad to be competitive, and it's more difficult to achieve this with two screens and an Atom CPU that still hasn't got to 32nm or lower. The battery would necessarily be too bulky and too heavy.

    But this is temporary; battery technology is evolving, the CPU is just a matter if time; and the OLED.. well. if the two first factors get taken care of, they might get away with LED LCD.
  • 4 Hide
    beayn , April 30, 2010 12:38 AM
    Dual screen could be very useful. They should build it.
  • 6 Hide
    nforce4max , April 30, 2010 12:39 AM
    I rather have something that weighs as much as my old English book that will get the job done rather than some fancy iPad.
  • 2 Hide
    zaam , April 30, 2010 12:57 AM
    Darn. This thing looked like it had a lot of potential. The 2 screens would make many tasks easier, like the aforementioned note taking, or even chatting on one screen while surfing the net on the other. Oh, the possibilities...
  • 1 Hide
    Dkz , April 30, 2010 1:44 AM
    Damn the idea looks great, too bad :( 
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 30, 2010 2:26 AM
    Come on guys. How about instead of following the market, you bring something new to the table.
  • 2 Hide
    elasticman , April 30, 2010 6:04 AM
    why why why ?!
    that was some amazing stuff from MS.
    they could have won this race!
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , April 30, 2010 9:56 AM
    I want a laptop which has two screens, and you can fold it up to use one screen as a touch screen keyboard. Sure, it might be difficult to type on at first, but you'd get used to it.
    I can't imagine using any less than 2 monitors now.
  • 0 Hide
    elcentral , April 30, 2010 10:27 AM
    But the msi are doing one right >??
    its the only laptop im actualy going to get.
  • 4 Hide
    del35 , April 30, 2010 10:58 AM
    "that was some amazing stuff from MS. they could have won this race!"

    Doubt it. The US media is definitely pro crApple and against MS. Although this product seems like an intelligent device.
  • 1 Hide
    mikeadelic , April 30, 2010 12:34 PM
    Microsoft needs to take a lesson from Apple. It's not just about hardware - it's about marketing. If they could have actually made Courier a reality, then did some re-branding with a sleeker logo (not the lame 'MICROSOFT') then they could have had a slam dunk winner on their hands.
  • 1 Hide
    balister , April 30, 2010 12:36 PM
    Likely, MS looked at the costs and figured it would be too expensive to do which is unfortunate. The courier *is* the superior device for the tablet market.
  • 0 Hide
    Regulas , April 30, 2010 12:45 PM
    Ah, the over-sized Nintendo DS is gone, ZZZZzzzzz
  • 0 Hide
    isisyodin , April 30, 2010 2:58 PM
    MS needs to focus on and improve upon things they are good at. Portable media devices is definitely one of their weakest segments so throw in the towel already. As far as a consumer I would rather see them spend their R&D money on the Windows, Office, XBOX, Natal, etc.
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