Microsoft confirms Courier tablet, quashes hopes of shipping it

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Microsoft has finally confirmed that it has been working on a tablet concept known as "Courier," but the company has also announced that it has "no plans to build such a device at this time."



The evolution of Courier at Microsoft



In 2008, Microsoft floated a mobile collaboration app for Windows Mobile under the name Courier. Nobody seemed to notice, given the overshadowing presence of iPhone 2.0 over the mobile software market.



The following year, Courier tablet concept photos were leaked by Gizmodo. It presented rendered depictions of dual-screen notebook supporting both touch and stylus input. The leak occurred just in time to suggest that Microsoft had big plans in place to rival the iPhone in the mobile arena, much like the introduction of the quickly forgotten Surface in 2007 had served as a temporary distraction from the original iPhone launch.







Shortly after the introduction of Apple's iPad, new pictures were leaked by Engadget depicting the dual screen Courier as a veritable competitor and near twin of the iPad, although there were no real details about availability or pricing.



Microsoft continued to officially promote the Slate PCs introduced in January by PC makers, but bloggers excitedly spoke of Courier as a real product that would ship at the end of 2010, presumably at a reasonable price and with lots of features missing from Apple's iPad.



Courier was also expected to run the same software (and Windows CE operating system) as the company's Zune HD music player and Windows Phone 7 smartphones, creating a counterpoint to Apple's iPhone OS and its App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices.







Today, Frank Shaw, Microsoft's VP of corporate communications, dashed any hopes for Courier in telling Engadget, "At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It's in Microsoft's DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The 'Courier' project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time."



Engadget mused that "Courier will always remain in our hearts as one of the finest unicorns that ever unicorned across our screens."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 100
    technotechno Posts: 670member
    Suprise surprise surprise.



    I am snappy as ginger at being first
  • Reply 2 of 100
    "At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It's in Microsoft's DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. "



    Too bad nothing noteworthy over the past decade has made it beyond incubation.
  • Reply 3 of 100
    slapppyslapppy Posts: 331member
    About a dozen Windows Fanatics screamed in despair.
  • Reply 4 of 100
    That strikes me a good move on their part.



    Despite its ability to rally iPad haters, having a wide physical gutter splitting two small screens is just dumb. Who cares if you can fold it, you've just hobbled your screen real estate in a major way.



    Old paradigm.
  • Reply 5 of 100
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,054member
    Microsoft talks about prototypes whilst Apple delivers products, not really a shock that the courier will not see the light of day.
  • Reply 6 of 100
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,244member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Today, Frank Shaw, Microsoft's VP of corporate communications, dashed any hopes for Courier in telling Engadget, "At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It's in Microsoft's DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The 'Courier' project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time."



    Perhaps this is a thinly-veiled loophole to get out of the "Microsoft Store" debacle too?
  • Reply 7 of 100
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 637member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Perhaps this is a thinly-veiled loophole to get out of the "Microsoft Store" debacle too?



    Oooh yes the MS Store! How is that venture going I wonder?
  • Reply 8 of 100
    BTW. When does JooJoo ship?
  • Reply 9 of 100
    msimpsonmsimpson Posts: 452member
    Maybe Adobe could make a tablet that runs everything in Flash, since it so wonderful? Then Adobe could deliver 'the full web" to everyone?



  • Reply 10 of 100
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 988member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    Microsoft talks about prototypes whilst Apple delivers products, not really a shock that the courier will not see the light of day.



    Did Microsoft ever spruik it? I'm not sure they did.
  • Reply 11 of 100
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    I just knew this would be worth a Daniel, er, I mean, Prince article.



    Daniel, er, I mean, Prince probably had this pre-written!
  • Reply 12 of 100
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by msimpson View Post


    Maybe Adobe could make a tablet that runs everything in Flash, since it so wonderful? Then Adobe could deliver 'the full web" to everyone?







    Post of the day!
  • Reply 13 of 100
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member
    Microsoft didn't cancel the Courier, which never existed. They cancelled a video project that failed to divert attention from Apple's real product. It was meant to compensate for Microsoft's frustration that Apple yet again made them look like clueless fools. So where's all that big R&D money going? Coffee runs? New chairs? A Big-Ass Table(TM)?



    Looks like Apple set the bar too high.



    Did anyone actually think Microstupid was capable of that . . . thing in the video? They can barely get a stupid mobile phone right, never mind an entirely new platform. That's Apple's territory.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kirkgray View Post


    BTW. When does JooJoo ship?



    It already did. If you're lucky, you'll find that road-kill before Gary Busey gets to it.
  • Reply 14 of 100
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,193member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    Microsoft talks about prototypes whilst Apple delivers products, not really a shock that the courier will not see the light of day.



    yep.



    This has been a problem since the start of the year, and last year even. All these folks talking, talking, talking. Showing prototypes and giving vague 'later this year' timelines.



    Apple said nothing until they had a real device to show and then it was announced with a much more real timeline. yes it was fudged by about 4 day so put the release on the weekend but that's really nothing compared to 'later this year'.



    and while the ipad is selling hand over fist, all but one of those other guys is still 'later'. and that one, our friend the JooJoo isn't even close to competition.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post


    Oooh yes the MS Store! How is that venture going I wonder?



    supposedly they are investigating locations for two more stores to open sometime this year.
  • Reply 15 of 100
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    "It's in our DNA" and "It's not in our DNA" -- phrases well on their way to blatant overuse. Along with "robust" and "product b is like product a on steroids."
  • Reply 16 of 100
    I find this so amusing. So what are all those iPad haters who were waiting for the Courier going to do? I guess purchase an HP Slate running Windows 7... oh wait a second?? Palm OS?? HP OS??... hahaha... Or maybe they'll have to purchase Adobe's custom built tablet that runs Flash OS
  • Reply 17 of 100
    Whaaa? I'm shocked I tell you, shocked!!

    You know they probably could have pulled this off if someone had showed them how to do it first.
  • Reply 18 of 100
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post


    Oooh yes the MS Store! How is that venture going I wonder?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Perhaps this is a thinly-veiled loophole to get out of the "Microsoft Store" debacle too?



    I am fortunate enough to live 10 minutes away from an Apple Store. In the same mall, about 4 stores down is the Microsoft store. I have to pass the Microsoft Store to get to the Apple Store. I can tell you that the MS store is a total joke. Don't get me wrong...the physical plant is beautiful: spacious, good lighting, huge LCD's on the wall...ect. However, it is almost always deserted when compared to the Apple Store. There are always at least 2 or 3 groups of MS employees standing around doing nothing but chatting to each other. One time I decided to count the number of customers in each store:



    MS: 10

    Apple: 40 or more (I lost count)



    The MS store will go down in history as another MS failure...similar to the Seinfeld commercials for Vista.
  • Reply 19 of 100
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    What Shaw said: "...develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity..."



    What Shaw meant: "...mash up vaporware mockups to divert as much attention from Apple as possible and to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt among potential Apple buyers..."



    What Shaw thought: "...we need to do something. Our major shareholders are getting angry. Apple is killing us in mindshare, their market cap is bigger than ours, and our stock has been flat for years..."
  • Reply 20 of 100
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Haha, I thought they actually confirmed it was gonna come out. I guess all we have from MS so far is a giant coffee table. Oh well I was actually hoping to see the courier some time this year, and those Engadget vids were pretty appealing. Guess Microsoft blew another opportunity to stay relevant.
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