Microsoft Scraps Dual-Screen Tablet, the Courier

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.

  • vant
    Saw the iPad and probably thought they couldn't compete.
  • matchboxmatt
    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.
  • mavanhel

    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.
  • JMcEntegart
    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.
  • vic20

    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 :(
  • chunkymonster
    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.
  • tpi2007
    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.
  • beayn
    Dual screen could be very useful. They should build it.
  • nforce4max
    I rather have something that weighs as much as my old English book that will get the job done rather than some fancy iPad.
  • zaam
    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...