updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu April 29, 2010
Leak has MS dropping dual-screen Courier
Microsoft has killed its Courier dual-screen tablet before it even became a real product, reports from within the company said. CEO Steve Ballmer told the Courier team on Wednesday that the project would "no longer be supported" even though it had never been made public. The reasons why hasn't been divulged to Gizmodo or any other source so far.
The Windows developer's Corporate Communications VP Frank Shaw unusually acknowledged that Courier was a Microsoft project and that there were no current plans to make it a production device.
"At any given time, we're looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them," Shaw said. "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."
As it had been rumored until now, Courier would have used a dual-core Tegra and would have been targeted at professionals and students needing tools for note-taking and collaboration; it would have still had a heavy home user focus with an e-book reader as well as media playback. It would have shared the same .NET, Silverlight and XNA roots as Windows Phone 7 but in an interface designed for both the dual screens as well as a mix of finger and pen input.
The design had garnered interest from the community but would have faced an uphill battle against the iPad, whose sales in the first 10 days alone topped 500,000 units and have likely passed 1 million some time ago.
Several other third-party Android tablets are also in the works, and Courier would also have had to compete against the Windows 7-based HP slate. Whether Apple's tablet or any others had any direct effect on Courier's cancellation isn't known.