Microsoft's dual-screen booklet shows 'face' on web
Redmond concept artists outdo themselves
More delicious rumor scraps about Microsoft's not-yet-announced Courier tablet/e-book/Girl Tech Password Journal have been leaked to the web.
The folks at Engadget unveiled some new Courier info from a "trusted" source. At the very least, Courier is shaping to be a collection of fabulous concept art.
If the actual product can do what Microsoft is (not technically) saying, then it could be an iPad killer. But as impressive as the images and accompanying video may be, we'll believe it when it's running on non-CG-rendered hardware.
(The video comes by way of Engadget. Check out more rendered images of the supposed device at the source.)
According to Engadget, the device will feature a dual 7-inch multi-touch capable screen that can operate with both finger and stylus input. The Courier will weigh a little over one pound and measure under an inch thick, and it won't be much bigger than a 5x7-inch photograph when closed, the publication claims.
Contrary to rumors that the device would run a version of Windows 7, the report said Courier runs on the same operating system as the Zune and Windows Phone 7 Series, which presumably means it's based on Windows Embedded CE 6.0. It uses an Nvidia Tegra 2 chip, the report states.
The publication pins the expected launch date some time within Q3 and Q4 of 2010.
Engadget cited the information (as well as video, and image gallery of what looks to created for a Courier publicity drive) as coming from a "trusted source".
The news arrives — we dare not say completely by coincidence — on the same day Apple announced the release date for the Wi-Fi version of the iPad. ®
This is an early concept demo - the kind that Marketing departments show internally at regular intervals. They imagine the workflows of 5 to 10 target customers then display a product serving them. After this meeting, Engineering finds that 90% of the product's decisions shown in the demo were made without sufficient input parameters (magic is not an input parameter). Test groups say, "That's amazing, but can it..." Project managers add up the costs and find it too expensive for the target customer. The demo and the specifications are reworked for a couple of months and eventually the amazing magical product looks quite common.
As you said yourselves, "believe it when you see it".
Unfortunately, the reality will (of course) be slow and , buggy. It will be full of eye candy but not actually very usable. The lovely seemless demo will turn into the usual Windows clutter of pop-ups and bubbles telling you really useful stuff like "you have disconnected the network cable" or "you have some unused icons" or "this device could work faster in a USB2 port". All the really cool stuff like videos etc will be almost useless because of all the DRM. Any applications you run on it will still crash and bring the system down with them. And half the processor time will be spent running virus scanners!
This is the Microsoft Way (TM).
iPad next month
Or wait 3 years for wrangling inside Microsoft about wether to release this or not.
Zune is only available as a grey import as far as I can tell, so the prospects of getting a Courier in the UK are slim. So I don't think anyone who needs a tablet should put off the iPad purchase for another vapourware Microsoft offering.