Microsoft’s Courier was supposed to be the tablet of the future, Microsoft’s answer (and challenger) to Apple’s iPad.
The intriguing tablet, was introduced in September 2009 by a promotional video that leaked from Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices division (the same one responsible for the Xbox 360 and Zune). It was pitched as a journal-like device, something that you would carry with you throughout the day to jot down notes, save images; almost a 21st century, literal re-imagining of the “personal digital assistant” ideal. It had a two-tone interface of touch and stylus actions, and ran software that looked absolutely nothing like Windows–arguably the best idea Microsoft had with the device.
But today, Microsoft confirmed it has canceled further development and production on its tablet project.
“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.”said Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft, in a statement. “The ‘Courier’ project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings.”
Maybe Courier was never anything more than an internal concept video that was never intended to see the light of day. But just from that initial video, fans and pundits seemed genuinely excited, or at least interested, in the Courier, perhaps because of its radical departure from Microsoft’s “just put Windows on it” tablet strategy that has so far failed since “tablet PCs” became the stuff of myths and punchlines.