New details on Microsoft’s Courier tablet portray the device as a digital journal to replace paper notepads, diaries and books.
Engadget got new photos of the dual-touch screen device, along with some fresh intel, from an unnamed source. The Courier measures under an inch thick and a little bigger than a 5-inch-by-7-inch photo when closed, and it weighs just over a pound. That’ll allow you to store it in a jacket pocket, backpack or purse. The courier will run on NVidia’s Tegra 2 chip — popular among non-Apple tablets — with the same operating system found in the Zune HD and Windows Phone 7 Series, probably Windows CE with a different user interface.
When we last heard about the Courier, Microsoft was working on the user experience. Now, there are more details on how that works. Users can write on the tablet with a stylus, and it’ll recognize handwriting. Everything that’s written can be posted to a Web site that publishes everything in a blog format, complete with comments. I hope there will be some flexibility on where users can publish their writing, and that it doesn’t have to go to some central Microsoft repository. Anyway, the Courier will function as an e-reader as well, which makes sense given the book-like design.
Other features include a built-in camera and a headphone jack, but other hardware details — 3G, USB jacks, card readers, external outputs, to name several — are still unknown. No hint of pricing, but now Engadget’s source says a Q3 or Q4 release is possible.
The interesting thing about Courier is that it’s clearly focused on publishing and creation, while Apple’s tablet, and presumably other tablets to follow, are foremost about entertainment. I’d really like to see these devices evolve to handle both, but the idea of a tablet that embraces blogging appeals to this writer’s sensibilities.