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MS Courier to use Windows 7, have journal focus?

updated 02:10 pm EDT, Tue September 29, 2009

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.

Additional details found by Gizmodo suggest that the journal functionality shown in the original video may be the primary focus of the device. It would let users create "infinite" journals up to the capacity of the Courier and then post the resulting projects online, either in a native format other Couriers could recognize or else in PDF or PowerPoint.

Although its focus would be on content creation where the rumored Apple tablet will supposedly focus on consumption, Foley understands that the Courier may well be an attempt to address the failures of Windows tablet PCs by using lessons learned from the iPhone. While Microsoft has often championed tablets and attempted to push them into the mainstream through convertible PCs, the company now believes these have failed as they weren't designed from the start for a stylus or for touch in the way Apple has managed.

Previous rumors have suggested that multiple prototypes have been developed that each function differently, but Courier is now considered more than just a purely theoretical project and is in "incubation," where it's more likely (but not certain) to emerge as a real product. The company may also repeat the strategy it has used for the Xbox and Zune and make the device under its own name rather than license it out, which would let Microsoft ship a Courier in or near mid-2010 instead of waiting for an outside company to make the device itself.

To watch the video, you'll first need to install the flash player.


by MacNN Staff



  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If they can execute

    and mind you that's a big IF, this thing is 100% more interesting than a big screened iPod Touch. Short of Apple also including some kind of stylus support, it'd be such a waste to have a 10" screen with no way to at least capture notes on it.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sorry just do not see it from MS

    While the hardware is easy, This thing is driven by tons of interactive software. I just do not see MS having a workable history at this. And just how do they make it work across systems and still keep a lock on the software?

    Sorry, can it be done, hmmmm, Apple proposed it many years ago in a media event. But just do not see Microsoft making it happen anytime in the next 10 years.

    Just a thought.

  1. peter02l

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It runs Windows 7 but ...

    It's a Windows 7 that is not compatible with regular Windows 7 apps? This Mary Jo lady sure knows what she is talking about. Too bad i don't!

    "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."

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The leaks are definitely intended as a spoiler against the Apple tablet - no doubt about that.

    It does look an interesting device, and certainly more what I want (a digital notebook) more than a big a** ipod - but MS are very good at producing concept demos.

    As for it not being compatible with Win7 apps - I suspect it's pretty much like the difference between Mac OS X and iPhone OS X - both built on a similar core, but with a different set of APIs towards the top of the stack (i.e. UIKit) - one optimised for mouse/touchpad based input, and the other optimised for touch based input.

    The mistake WinMob and tablets in general made was to try and re-use all existing software, rather than designing to the strengths of a direct touch interface.

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