Microsoft cancels Courier project

Microsoft has canceled their internal Courier project, according to sources close with the project. Gizmodo reports that CEO Steve Ballmer put the brakes on the project this past Wedensday.

The innovative new tablet concept gained internet fame through its dual screen book design which combined both finger and stylus input. The leaked promotional materials demonstrated various new concepts that would have brought an unparalleled productivity tool to the market.

According to our own sources the project was always based on Microsoft Research and reached a concept stage but Microsoft was never planning to create the device. Frank Shaw, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Communications stated the following over the cancellation:

At any given time, we're looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them. 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. 

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i too was looking very forward to this... i currently use a tablet and thought this thing would have just been wonderful. i hope someone else picks up on this idea and builds the product.

An utter disgrace.

Grow a pair of balls microsoft.

You threw out the mould to recreate WP7, that appears to have been recieved quite well, do the same here, say hell yea were brining this or at least announce a WP7 tablet or something. Bah.

Ah looks like Microsoft is really getting how to raise craze about their products. They did it with Windows 7 and now with Tablet Good going

" It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time. "
so basically, this concept could be used by other manufacturers, not MS hardware.
I believe they said quite same thing about "Zune Phone", and what we got now? Windows Phone coming at the end of the year with integrated Zune experience, and also Kin.

Ñ….iso said,
" It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time. "
so basically, this concept could be used by other manufacturers, not MS hardware.
I believe they said quite same thing about "Zune Phone", and what we got now? Windows Phone coming at the end of the year with integrated Zune experience, and also Kin.

Probably not because Microsoft has the patents to the device.

Microsoft needs to browse the web more often... So much buzz for this and not building it? Crazy, this would have been a winner.

k7of9 said,
Microsoft needs to browse the web more often... So much buzz for this and not building it? Crazy, this would have been a winner.

I agree... Does anyone have Ballmer's e-mail?

Most of the things that the Courier could do, the kin can anyway... so all we need to do is wait for the kin to mature. (i'm talking oubout how the kin's loop works)

Einlander said,
Most of the things that the Courier could do, the kin can anyway... so all we need to do is wait for the kin to mature. (i'm talking oubout how the kin's loop works)

You do make a good point that they do share some technologies... Dot is like the center binding in the Courier too... But The Courier is also very different...

FrostAM said,
Well that sucks. Looks like I'll have to find another tablet now.

Yeah, same here... How very sad... Nothing else even came close...

No one needs a computer. No one needs a smart phone. Microsoft rarely takes gambles and succeeds. While apple does take gambles and does succeed. I think overtime Microsoft is going to be forced take more gambles it doesn't like. You already see it with windows phone 7 and natal, These are both reactionary products. Whether they will succeed I don't know, but they are gambles Microsoft would rather not make.

It makes sense. The user interface was far to complex to market. Perhaps years from now it will be easier but it would only apply to a very small market. Unlike Apple they have a hard time marketing products people don't need. iPad is a perfect example. No one needs an iPad. Sure they are fun to use, but it's not easy selling something no one truly needs.

Damian. said,

Speak for yourself. I need my iPad more than i need a notebook.

You still don't need one though. You could certainly live without one, and that's where a lot of these sorts of products fall over, in that they are great products, but people don't buy into them because they don't need one. The iPad is a fortunate such device because Apple's following in the media and through its fans enables them to market it very well, but its certainly not a life necessity.

Damian. said,

Speak for yourself. I need my iPad more than i need a notebook.
I'm not bashing it, I'm about to pre-order a 64GB 3G version when its available in Canada. But I certainly don't need one, which is what I'm getting at.

Majesticmerc said,

You still don't need one though. You could certainly live without one, and that's where a lot of these sorts of products fall over, in that they are great products, but people don't buy into them because they don't need one. The iPad is a fortunate such device because Apple's following in the media and through its fans enables them to market it very well, but its certainly not a life necessity.

When i said i need an iPad more than a notebook I meant to say: i don't have a use for a notebook. I have an iPad as a notebook replacement

Xero said,
I'm not bashing it, I'm about to pre-order a 64GB 3G version when its available in Canada. But I certainly don't need one, which is what I'm getting at.

I didn't see it as bashing. see my above posts.

TechGuyPA said,
If somehow 1 of these shows on eBay.....could you image the $$$ it would fetch. (**As long as you don't mind being raided a few days later).

Microsoft isn't Apple...

They might have had a hard time figuring out how they would bring it to market at a competitive price, competitive weight, and competitive battery life (with the 2-screens and all). But I'm very disappointed to hear that this one is dead in the water ATM.

ZeroSkyX said,
Such a shame, I was certainly going to buy the Courier... Well, let's hope for a resurrection: The Courier New

Yeah, I was going to buy one too...

Hopefully this news is wrong...

This is VERY sad news indeed (If true)... This device really looked amazing. I already had planned on buying one... I don't know what Ballmer could be thinking... I realize that battery life was likely a concern, but I still want one. This would have been such a useful device for me... And I'm sure many others. It certainly seemed from the discussions online that more people were clamoring for this than the iPad...

Hopefully the software concepts will be later offered on things like WP7 and even light Win7 Tablet/Touch devices. It seems like this would be the strategy instead of producing a device themselves when they can just add the application concepts to the TabletPC market of Windows7.

Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device! Build the device!

Like seriously, it's an awesome device that I would've bought.

it's a shame it never came to fruition - it's competition may have made the iPad releases / updates faster.

Competition is always good, and there was loads of tech hype about this.

Creating a concept and delivering a product are two totally separate things. Creating an OS is hard. Creating working prototypes is hard. Creating devices that can actually be mass produced is hard. Some companies have the experience and stomach for it, others don't.

Death to vaporware!

Shame, this looked like a great piece of equipment. I'm sure this would've been gobbled up by Uni students as well as business users. Great concept which would have proved useful.

Billus said,
Shame, this looked like a great piece of equipment. I'm sure this would've been gobbled up by Uni students as well as business users. Great concept which would have proved useful.

Yeah, I think this would have been very useful for college students as well. Not to mention the possibilities it would have given business (Especially graphic design)... This really could have been a tremendous product...

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah, I think this would have been very useful for college students as well. Not to mention the possibilities it would have given business (Especially graphic design)... This really could have been a tremendous product...

Hope they will give the patent up to someone who will use it....

satanist said,
I believe that if it was only about the concepts, Apple would have created 10x more attractive videos then Microsoft. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WdS4TscWH8

LOL That video is funny and all, but I wouldn't say it's more attractive. It's a weak Jetsons concept, and the entire production was just a conversation, which any one of us could've seen on Star Trek. If you're gonna compare that to the Courier video, which was fully rendered to showcase various ways of actually interacting directly with information, then that video loses pretty hard.

Jordan Wharmsby said,
Have to agree with everyone above, one of the few interesting Microsoft products and it gets shelved.
Typical

Yeah, so very disappointing...

satanist said,
hehe more like "Microsoft cancels Courier videos production project." iPad FTW

NO! NEVER Damn get over THAT STUPID PAD! THING!

satanist said,
hehe more like "Microsoft cancels Courier videos production project." iPad FTW
They actually did research and have some of this tech available, AFAIK. They did find a nice way to combine pen input and capacitive multitouch, most likely something that spurred out of this project.
Sebianoti said,
NO! NEVER Damn get over THAT STUPID PAD! THING!
Hey, I recognize the Courier was a much cooler concept if it could've panned out, but I really like my iPad. It's doing everything I want it to.

Edited by Elliott, Apr 29 2010, 8:01pm :

satanist said,
hehe more like "Microsoft cancels Courier videos production project." iPad FTW

But.. Doesn't the iPad fail? WiFi issues and all that?

DarkNovaGamer said,

But.. Doesn't the iPad fail? WiFi issues and all that?

WiFi issues? What WiFi issues? Do you seriously believe that if indeed the Courier was released, it would be a bug free device?

Edited by Saad_Salman, Apr 29 2010, 9:46pm :

satanist said,

WiFi issues? What WiFi issues? Do you seriously believe that if indeed the Courier was released, it would be a bug free device?

Never said that so do NOT put words in my mouth. You said iPad FTW. I asked "Doesn't the iPad fail?" Then I also added ONTO that pointing out its WiFi issues.

excalpius said,
The HP Slate is FTW.

No, an HP WebOS slate would be full of win.

Edited by Joshie, Apr 29 2010, 9:03pm :

DarkNovaGamer said,

Never said that so do NOT put words in my mouth. You said iPad FTW. I asked "Doesn't the iPad fail?" Then I also added ONTO that pointing out its WiFi issues.

People, don't feed the troll please.

TCLN Ryster said,
People, don't feed the troll please.

I'm not a troll for expressing my opinion. I was also asking that user not to put words in my mouth.

While I think the product had serious problems in that while the demo was fantastic, I wanted to know how that translated into everyday uses.

Saying that I think MS should spin off a smaller fast moving smaller company that can give these research life. Something like MSR microsoft research.

Blame the battery makers people, it's the key thing that held this device back as every other feature was working pretty damn good.

CarlMS said,
Blame the battery makers people, it's the key thing that held this device back as every other feature was working pretty damn good.

That's what I think the main problem might have been. I think releasing something like this with only, say, 5hrs of battery life wouldn't cut it.

I think the software and other stuff will live on and be used elsewere. Or maybe Gizmodo is totally off base and we get a surprise? Who knows. MSR works on a crap load of things any given day.

GP007 said,

That's what I think the main problem might have been. I think releasing something like this with only, say, 5hrs of battery life wouldn't cut it.

I think the software and other stuff will live on and be used elsewere. Or maybe Gizmodo is totally off base and we get a surprise? Who knows. MSR works on a crap load of things any given day.

Yeah, battery life is an issue for so many devices anymore... An advancement needs to be made to increase battery capacity across the board...

As for the Courier though, I can see that battery could have been an issue, but there has to be something on the market that would have gotten you a days worth of charge... That surely would have been enough... I REALLY hope that Gizmodo is wrong here. The Courier really looked like an amazing device...

CarlMS said,
Blame the battery makers people, it's the key thing that held this device back as every other feature was working pretty damn good.

Yeah to be fair to the iPad Apple set a good benchmark in this area....

CarlMS said,
Blame the battery makers people, it's the key thing that held this device back as every other feature was working pretty damn good.

A dual screen device like that would have been nice for college work. 5 hours would be an annoyance though. People constantly forget that "up to 5 hours" doesn't mean it will last 5 hours with normal use. It means with minimum use. A device like that would go smoothly with my home PC layout where i have one monitor with Word open and another with research sources. If they don't plan on using it, hopefully they will sale the patent to someone else to use.

Elliott said,
Saw it coming. Everything that Microsoft makes that's really, really cool never seems to pan out.

Either that, or they don't release it outside the USA.

Majesticmerc said,

Either that, or they don't release it outside the USA.


+1 If they ever discover marketing, who knows where products like the Zune will be at now.

ahhell said,
Lame. That's thing looks awesome. (Assuming that Gizmodo isnt't full of crap)

Yeah, I agree. I REALLY hope that this news is wrong... Gizmodo's reputation has been soiled lately... Perhaps they just got it wrong here? I hope so...

Aww man I was definitely going to get this had this ever come to light. Shame. This would have been such a great device for Work.

John. said,
Aww man I was definitely going to get this had this ever come to light. Shame. This would have been such a great device for Work.

Yeah, same here. I'd already set some money aside for it actually... This is the worst news I've read in quite some time. I hope it's not true...

neufuse said,
why is it the one device people seemed to be interested in, they cancel?

Technical problems? Someone stated battery life a few weeks ago or something? It probably wasn't good to go. Still any software/OS advances made by this over at MSR will find it's way into other products I bet.

neufuse said,
why is it the one device people seemed to be interested in, they cancel?

Yeah, I know. Look at the interest this device garnered... If this is true, Ballmer's out of his mind... This device would have been revolutionary. I already had money set aside for it... lol

neufuse said,
why is it the one device people seemed to be interested in, they cancel?

I think people are interested in what's cancelled.

M_Lyons10 said,

I think it's because the device looked amazing... Such a shame...

I was skipping HP Slate for this. Guess I'll be getting slate now
+1 on it's a shame being cancelled

billyea said,
Too revolutionary for Microsoft to bring it to market.

At least it was a cool ad.

Edited by Jose_49, Apr 29 2010, 9:51pm :

billyea said,
Too revolutionary for Microsoft to bring it to market.

Yeah, this would have been an amazing device... "Unparalleled" is a good description...