Defunct Courier resurrected with Project Austin
A team at Microsoft is working to bring the note-taking functionality from that company's now-defunct Courier concept device toWindows 8. The app, codenamed Project Austin, is said to allow users to create notes containing a range of mixed content. As the team explains in a post onthe Visual C++ team blog, their goal was not somuch to resurrect the Courier project as to glean the best working features from it.
Paper for iPad gets record interest early on
Fiftythree sent word late Wednesday that its Paper app for the iPad (App Store) has crossed the 1.5 million download mark in its first two weeks. The same interval saw a total of seven million pages created at the same time, suggesting that every user made at least one page. It's not clear how many had paid for extra drawing tools beyond what's free.
Leak shows Courier killed for lack of Office tech
Microsoft's decision to kill the Courier tablet came after a meeting with former CEO Bill Gates himself, according to a new leak on Tuesday. Not willing to decide on his own whether Microsoft should embrace the book-like Courier or a more conventional tablet, current CEO Steve Ballmer turned to a presentation with Gates judging a presentation by Courier architect J Allard, then Entertainment & Devices head Robbie Bach, and a pair of project engineers, CNET heard. Gates reportedly had a virtual "allergic reaction" when Allard revealed that the Courier's emphasis on drawing, note-taking, and other content plans meant it wouldn't have native e-mail or otherwise tap directly into the Office or Windows ecosystems.
UMPC and Xbox maker Otto Berkes quits Microsoft
Microsoft was dealt a symbolic hit Tuesday after new word that one of its most unconventional device designers, Otto Berkes, has left the company. The veteran of the ultramobile PC (UMPC) and Xbox teams resigned this afternoon. His final destination wasn't known, but he told the Seattle Times he was leaving for a firm "outside the Seattle area."
Microsoft closes experimental Pioneer Studios
New tips Thursday afternoon have pointed to and confirmed Microsoft shutting down its once-hopeful Pioneer Studios. Its creative workshop, best known for the ill-fated Courier tablet, has closed down its exotic office in Seattle and seen most staff either folded into existing groups or have left elsewhere. Microsoft didn't directly confirm the end to the studio with CNET but did say it was no longer occupying its custom-designed space.
Microsoft mobile failure pinned on Windows pride
An investigation into Microsoft's high-profile mobile failures has blamed much of the company's poor market share on an endemic culture that resists anything not part of Windows. CEO Steve Ballmer is said to be over-proud and overprotective of the Windows legacy he inherited from Bill Gates. The company's Windows and Office teams often get first say over anything, Forbes was told, and were likened earlier by James Whittaker to a Mafia that killed Courier, Kin, or any project that would threaten Windows' internal hegemony.
Sony call talks PS phone strategy and tablet
Sony during the call discussing its latest results has strongly hinted that the company is developing a PlayStation phone. Without mentioning the device itself, the company said the hardware would be delivered from the Network Services group that handles both computers and the PlayStation brand. It's also moving Sony Computer Entertainment, the PlayStation division, into the Sony City headquarters to "better incorporate" it with the planning teams for a mystery product.
MS holding iPad focus group
Microsoft revealed the pressure it feels from the iPad today as it has posted an open call on Facebook for a study of iPad owners. The Windows developer's User Research team hopes to have two-hour focus groups at its campus between July 16 and July 21 asking owners how they use the Apple tablet. It didn't provide any particular clues as to the direction of the research.
MS page turn effect could lead to royalty on iPad
Microsoft has filed for a patent that could create problems for Apple's iBooks and other e-reader apps. The technique for a "virtual page turn" would use the same design as Apple's, where readers can turn the page naturally by touching and dragging from one side of an e-book and curling the page to the other side. It would render the page in 3D and even render the back of a page while in mid-turn.
Microsoft patent for Courier now approved
A US design patent has been discovered for the Microsoft Courier dual-screen tablet, which Microsoft canceled in the concept phase. The just-approved patent was filed on January 19 and implied Microsoft was still interested in the device even this year. A patent by itself also signals enough interest that the company was willing to land a patent.
Toshiba resurrects Libretto with W100 tablet
Toshiba marked the 25th birthday of its notebooks by unveiling the first dual-touchscreen Windows tablet computer. The Libretto W100 has twin seven-inch, 1024x600, multi-touch displays that control virtually the entire Windows 7 interface. One display can work separately as a keyboard (with vibration feedback) or just as a second display; an accelerometer lets users tilt the device on its side for e-book reading.
Sony's tablet plans get clue in USPTO filing
Sony's ambitions in the tablet field may have been partly spoiled by a patent filing published on Thursday. The concept is on the surface a dual-touchscreen e-book reader but would change functions as it's rotated. On its side, the device could turn into a notebook with a keyboard below and and content up top.
J Allard's exit from MS part of larger plan
Microsoft is planning a major overhaul of its Entertainment and Devices group at the top level, inside sources said this evening [sub. required]. The extent of the cuts aren't known, but well-known Xbox pioneer J Allard's decision to quit over the Courier's end would be one part of a "broader" move meant to stave off gains by Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform. The Entertainment and Devices section covers not only the Xbox and Zune devices but also Windows Phone.
Famed Xbox head leaving MS over dual touch tablet
Microsoft's decision to kill the Courier tablet may have cost it one of its best-known employees, an investigation found this week. Chief Technical Officer J Allard, who went to the side project Alchemy Ventures after heading up the Xbox and later Zune teams, is believed to have gone on "sabbatical" but now may never come back. He was allegedly already uncertain about the company but decided to leave after Courier was axed before it was even made public.
MS Menlo would drop Win CE for Win NT core
Microsoft is engaged in a project that would bring the core of its desktop OS to smartphones and other mobile devices, an investigation revealed today. The strategy would replace the Windows CE core used in Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7 and Zune HD with the same Windows NT foundation that has persisted even up to Windows 7. A graphics layer known as Experiment 19 would scale the experience down to handheld sizes.
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.
Google, HP may square off against iPad too
Google is in the midst of crafting its own tablet to take on the iPad, a leak late Sunday may have revealed. CEO Eric Schmidt at a recent Los Angeles party purportedly told those gathered that the company is working on an Android tablet. Most of its details weren't mentioned, but it would be both an e-reader and a general computing device. The NYT heard that Google is talking with "a few publishers" for licensing books and periodicals.
MS Manual Deskterity project appears
Microsoft has quietly shown off a new touchscreen implementation that could potentially close the gap between stylus and finger input. Manual Deskterity uses the same multi-touch technology as Surface but with a special infrared stylus and a custom drawing app that recognizes both fingers and the pen at once. At a virtual work desk, the user could not only pan around with fingers but use them to hold photos and perform a second function with the pen, such as cutting out a segment of an image, copying it or using it as a stencil.
MS job hints Courier leak may have been plant
Microsoft may have inadvertently confirmed the existence of the Courier dual-screen tablet through a post (since edited) at its JobsBlog. In the same breath as it mentioned Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Phone 7, a recruiting pitch from the company mentioned a "Courier digital journal" and linked to a leak on the subject, referring to the supposedly unofficial shots as "exclusive." Others at the company quickly acted on the slip and pulled the segment, declining to comment on the reference.
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.
Microsoft deal may hint at Courier plans
Amazon and Microsoft tonight agreed to a cross-licensing deal for each other's patents. The deal gives Microsoft special access to technology behind the Kindle reader as well as Amazon's implementation of Linux on servers. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, including what technology Amazon would get, but the online retailer will pay Microsoft an unmentioned sum as part of the transaction.
HP tablet with 3G to go below Apple cost
HP's slate PC should cost less than an equivalent iPad when it goes on sale, a leak has revealed late on Wednesday. Sources say that an entry version of the Windows 7 tablet with 3G will have similar specs to an iPad but will cost less than the $629 Apple wants to charge. Executives are reportedly meeting both in the US and Taiwan to lock down the costs and feature set within the next few weeks.
Microsoft keynote may not bring Courier
An HP tablet is coming at tonight's Microsoft keynote but may not be the rumored Courier tablet, multiple sources indicate today. A contact for Reuters says to expect a media-centric, multi-touch device from HP at Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer's keynote, but doesn't provide details. Journalist Kara Swisher adds, however, that her own contacts are adamant it won't be the dual-screen Courier and instead will be a slate that runs Microsoft software.
HP dual-screen tablet may show mid-2010
Microsoft may hope to undermine the widely anticipated Apple tablet by releasing one of its own at its keynote on Wednesday, a late rumor maintains. CEO Steve Ballmer is believed by sources for the New York Times to be using his presentation to unveil an HP tablet based on Microsoft's dual-screen Courier concept and would show the device at the event. How close it follows this design isn't stated, but e-book reading and multi-touch are claimed to be part of HP's feature set.
IDC predicts for Apple, PC field in 2010
Analysts at IDC today made a sweeping set of predictions for the tech industry in 2010 that highlighted Apple. Researchers expect a major push into mobile apps as the future of computing and expect iPhone apps to lead the pack, with the app count almost tripling to 300,000 by the end of next year. Android will also swell rapidly and reach between 50,000 and 70,000 apps.
Division ends CrunchPad project
News site TechCrunch on Monday said that its CrunchPad tablet project has 'self destructed' due to a legal dispute. The touchscreen slate was to have been unveiled soon but is effectively being shut down as the actual developer, Fusion Garage, has claimed it will sell the device without further input from the co-developer and would only carry the CrunchPad name, using site founder Michael Arrington only as a product evangelist.
Barnes and Noble overwhelmed with orders
Barnes & Noble today alerted Nook buyers that new orders now won't ship until December 11th (subscription required). The delay from the original November 30th date follows a recent push back for some until December 7th and is credited by spokeswoman Ellen Keating to sales that have "surpassed our expectations." The book retailer hasn't said how many pre-orders it has taken.
Courier gestures, UI explained
A new leak of internal documentation has provided a deeper explanation of the Microsoft Courier. The dual-screen tablet prototype has a fundamentally simple interface with two-finger multi-touch gestures: besides usual navigation, it would let users tap-and-hold to clip a photo or other object and a two-finger swipe left or right to move that object to the opposite page. The pen also has two buttons and an "eraser" to both switch between drawing styles as well as to remove recent changes.
MS chief talks Win Mo 7, Sidekick, Courier
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer today provided a handful of minor revelations for his company's strategy in an interview today. In his discussion with Engadget, the executive has now all but confirmed that Windows Mobile 7 will "come hard" with elements of the Zune interface; previously, the company had only made indirect allusions to the software appearing in a future update. Most anticipate the release moving the phone OS towards a more touch-friendly platform as well as to give it stronger media playback.
Courier touch notebook
Microsoft's Courier dual-screen tablet uses a full desktop OS underneath, a leak from the project maintains. Just as the company's Surface multi-touch tables use Vista underneath, the new project is seen by Mary Jo Foley as using Microsoft's latest OS and having access to its deeper features. It isn't believed to be just a cosmetic change, however, and would intentionally break compatibility with regular Windows 7 apps; Courier-native third-party apps are a possibility.