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Microsoft Courier to use Tegra 2, ship late 2010

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. boris_cleto

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Spread the FUD. Late 2010 means late 2012 if at all.

  1. sgirard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's not a tablet. It's a slate.

    Steve Ballmer, at the recent January 2010 CES keynote said clearly: "We're calling these slate computers."

    This is interesting because before the iPad announcement, the Apple rumor mill had the iPad being named the "iSlate". Microsoft wanted to jump in on the iPad media storm, so they tried to glom onto the product category by basically saying "see, we have slate computers too".

    I think we should pin them with the slate moniker. The word "slate" evokes thoughts of a hard, cold, old-fashioned technology that students wrote on with soapstone or chalk back in the 1800's. See wikipedia under "slate writing":

    Let them have the word "slate" since they wanted it so badly.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Thanks, But ...

    I wonder why Baldmer showed an HP tablet at CES and not this? Thanks, but I already have a Nintendo DS lite.

    But at least we now have some specifics:
    - a release appears more certain
    - it would ship maybe in summer or fall
    - it will sell for an unknown price

    MS would have been better off releasing their version of the classic monospaced typewriter font I thought this article was going to be about.

  1. Tim_s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here goes...

    As much as I hate to say, I kind of like the form factor. However, the OS may leave a bit to be desired. I don't know. This is something I'd like to take into one of my endless meetings to "take notes" on. For some reason, the iPad doesn't seem suited for that.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Over-Promise. Under-Deliver.

    Typical Microsoft.
    Promise the moon and deliver a meteorite.

    It'll be amusing to do a side by side comparison:
    Everything Microsoft pre-announced and promised vs. what actually ships...

    IF it ever does.

    I'm taking bets.

  1. brainiac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yay, two screens

    Half the battery run time or twice the battery weight. HP's slate is much heavier than the amazon kindle just due to the e-ink versus a backlit screen. This has backlit times 2.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Tim-s, I see the problem with taking notes is that I've never experienced a stylus that could keep up with the actual taking of notes and be legible later. Jotting down a quick note is fine but writing notes in a class or meeting seemed like it would be quite the task.
    Has this technology progressed to the point where its feasible now? I don't know, haven't used a stylus in quite some time.

  1. Teq

    Joined: Dec 1969


    yes please

    I would love to have this device, my note taking is a nightmare, I've got tons of stickies everywhere, dozens of pages of graphics and graphs and schematics and notes after each meeting. This would not only save me from running around with all this paper, but also organize everything for me in one place and because of it's electronic nature, I wouldn't have to manually rewrite everything into a computer... YES PLEASE!!!

  1. bauhaus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nat, yes... easily. I have as one of my laptops a Lenovo X tablet that with OneNote is possibly the most impressive note taking/handwriting analysis I've ever used. Easily keeps up with any pen/paper and you can search (immediately) through handwriting/drawing/and handwriting translated to text. For instance, write the word "cross" in really horrible cursive, draw a cross, and print the word "cross" and then search for cross in the toolbar and it will find all of them for you and note when it was actually written or when an image was pasted in and from what web page, etc (plus it can auto-convert handwritten math equations to publishable symbolic notation as you're writing.) Absolutely no lag. It must be metatagging the drawings as it goes and keeping a metadatabase for "untranslated" handwriting in order for the search to work so smoothly (and accurately)

    Did I mention this is a 3 year old tablet. Today's tablets can easily keep up. Plus since this is a Wacom PenEnabled tablet it has 512 levels of pressure recognition which makes the writing look just like as if it was done with a pen with the subpixel aliasing and line thickness variations.

  1. Teq

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I agree, OneNote is probably the single most significant application Microsoft has created for tablets, however they've failed horribly to make tablets successful, because of the form factor and because they've never properly adjusted the OS, I'm hoping that the Courier will be a totally fresh approach, like the phone7, and thus far the presentations and pictures seem to confirm that.
    Also, this kind of puts the iPad into a perspective doesn't it. While it looks like a beautiful product, how many of us really need another apple toy?
    My iMac and iPhone are doing their job just fine, thank you, what the iPad serves is just not hitting the spot.

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