updated 12:30 am EDT, Fri April 29, 2011
Split-screen technique ideal for multi-taskers
Tapose (Tap-o-SAY) is a project to bring the best ideas of Microsoft's defunct but intriguing dual-screen Courier project and incorporate them into an app for the iPad (and perhaps later for Android tablets) that mimics both the Courier's free-form writing support as well as its two-pane interface. Using the iPad in landscape mode, the proposed app would split the screen, allowing users to run two apps side-by-side: for example, the Camera Roll on one side and Mail on the other, making it easy to drag-and-drop photos as attachments.
An adjustable separator bar would allow users to easily control what app had what portion of the screen, and the bar itself could act as a temporary placeholder for things like images or sticky notes. With stylus and writing support, the two-pane view could also be ideal for studying, making notes or sketching from photos.
The two developers, who go simply by their first names of Ben and Rick, began soliciting for investors just over a month ago and have already exceeded their initial Kickstarter project goal of $10,000 but are still seeking backers to help ensure the project's success. Every pledge of $10 or more earns the investor a free copy of the app when it is eventually released. At press time the project had a total of 419 backers and had raised nearly $12,000.
The original Courier was a Microsoft concept product that was much publicized but ultimately cancelled before it ever made it into production. It was to have been a book-style dual-screen tablet with stylus that allowed for split-screen or dual-screen use, featuring handwriting recognition and e-reading as its main attractions.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cancelled the project for unspecified reasons, but factors influencing his decision were thought to have included price pressure from Apple's then-just-announced iPad and competing projects from partner companies, such as HP's "Slate" tablet. Two senior Microsoft executives heavily involved in the Courier project eventually left the company in the aftermath of its cancellation, though both denied it was the reason behind their departures.
Work on the Tapose app is currently at the alpha stage and the developers hope to have the initial release of the app ready by late summer.