Microsoft shuts down Courier tablet dev

Ronny Kerr · April 29, 2010 · Short URL:

Double multi-touch screen tablet computer will not go into production, says Microsoft

CourierSay goodbye to one of Microsoft's coolest innovations in awhile.

The Redmond, WA company has canceled development of the Courier, a tablet prototype with two folding multi-touch screens.

The Courier, hinged like a book, was supposed to have two seven-inch screens designed to be touched with either a stylus or finger. Equipped with a 3-megapixel digital camera as well as technology for wireless battery charging, the tablet was a striking curiosity even in its early stages.

Though never actually announced or acknowledged by Microsoft as an upcoming product, the Courier was rumored to already have been near completion a year ago. But now Microsoft executives have stopped the project dead in its tracks.

"At any given time, we're looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them," explains Microsoft Corporate VP of Communications Frank Shaw. "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."

There's no telling what motivated the move.

Perhaps Microsoft decided the Courier was ill-equipped to enter a market currently in a tizzy over the still very recent release of the Apple iPad. The strictly Wi-Fi model, which went on sale on April 3, sold over 300,000 units on launch day. The Wi-Fi + 3G model is released tomorrow, April 30. And both models are set to be launched internationally in May.

Apple's established mobile platform for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, not to mention its growing population of obsessed fans, makes the company's mobile products hard to compete with. But of course, it's not impossible. Maybe the Courier just wasn't the right kind of competition.

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