updated 12:00 pm EST, Fri March 5, 2010
MS Courier dual tablet to be small, fast
Microsoft's dual-screen Courier tablet has had more details leaked on Friday that detail its capabilities. The book-like device has had more concrete hardware details and should be powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 250 and should be relatively portable. Despite the second touchscreen, it would be lighter than an iPad and weigh just over one pound and would still be under an inch thick; the footprint would be that of a 5-by-7-inch photo when shut.
The Engadget leak also clarifies some details of the OS. Despite Microsoft's preference for Windows 7 on tablets, the use of an ARM-based chip would lead the tablet to instead use the same foundation as Windows Phone 7, Zune HD and Project Pink. Previous leaks have already established that the OS would be optimized primarily for note taking and would include handwriting support, although the new details show the previously only hinted at e-reader layer.
E-books would play a key role and would include a "dedicated ecosystem," according to the tip, implying an online bookstore much like the iBookstore for its most obvious rival. Apps are also mentioned in one screen and suggest a Courier marketplace for new features.
A release now appears more certain. Although earlier rumors had Microsoft debating whether or not to release Courier at all, it would now ship in summer or fall of this year for an unknown price.
The Microsoft tablet was publicly leaked months before the iPad but now appears to be a relatively late entry into competition for the Apple device as it will ship at least three months later. It will also face more price pressure than originally thought, as the $499 base price for an iPad will make any significantly higher Courier price a deterrent to some buyers.