MS Courier: Beyond the Tablet

Stephen Yagielowicz
While still a tantalizing piece of vaporware with an uncertain market future, production concepts revealing Microsoft's response to archrival Apple's iPad tablet, and Amazon's Kindle — known as "Courier" — have begun showing up on the Internet — and in advance of an official announcement from the company.

According to insider reports, this dual-screen "digital journal" is less than an inch thick, weighs around one pound, and when closed, measures roughly 5x7 inches — giving the device a much smaller form factor than some analysts predicted.

Courier is said to be powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 mobile web processor and uses the Windows Mobile 7 operating system. It features a pen-based user interface, which in true tablet fashion, is intended to facilitate natural handwriting and freehand drawing.

Integrated handwriting recognition adds security and enhanced capabilities; while a camera and headphone jack hint at the compact device's multimedia potential.

Overall, Courier offers a diary-sized platform that will no doubt become popular with a wide array of consumers, least of all teenage girls seeking a digital alternative to setting pen to paper for personal memoirs — with so much more capability at hand.

Whether the device actually hits store shelves remains to be seen, with late word that Redmond may drop the project; but Courier, or something like it, is doubtless coming our way from Microsoft — and when it does, you can be sure there'll be porn on it.

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