back to article MS dual-screen tablet to arrive next year?

The past week has been filled with speculation about Microsoft’s dual-screen e-book reader-cum-tablet PC, and it has since emerged that the device could available sooner than you may have thought. When images of Courier first appeared, moles described it as a “late prototype”. This led many pundits to believe that it could be …


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  1. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    I can sort of see the need

    Only if someone like asus or sony did one (Or god forbid, Apple). Someone that has a history of good quality hardware. Not a second rate OS manufacturer.

    Microsoft doing one just tells me it will be pants, like the surface table idea or Xbox or the Zune.

    Still would be interested to see the specs.

  2. shaunm


    I'm not going to lie I want one..But no specs as yet.

  3. Christopher Rogers
    Thumb Up


    I'd buy it. If its good...

  4. Jamester


    Will give rise to a whole new "blue pad of death" in meetings. "Sorry, could you say that again please, my pad is just rebooting...".

    Great video though, if only it could actually work like that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sony? No way!

    I think I'd take the original Xbox over anything Sony's made thanks! I have an original Xbox, bought in 2005, still going strong. Now used as a media station connected to a NAS, it's on a about 2-3 hours a day, almost every day.

  6. Dale 3

    @alistair millington

    Give them a chance. Let Microsoft hack out its first generation tablet, then all the manufacturers with reputations for good quality hardware can spend a bit longer to work out all that's wrong with the MS one and get it right in their own 1st gens, while MS tries to figure out how to roll out a hardware service pack.

  7. james 68


    if ms is making it (and not just creating a reference design in concert with a proper manufacturer) then you can bet your ass itll be underpowered and overpriced - much like their operating systems.

    having said that though i am rather impressed with windows7 but ive just been waiting for them to find a way to screw it up.... this could be it

  8. tony72

    Killer app?

    I have read lots of post by people wanting one of these devices, but most of the reasons they say they want it are for applications and services that don't actually exist. Things that you /could/ do with it. As far as I can tell, it's best use right now would be as an expensive, low-battery-life eBook / document reader. The gap between the screens means you can't really use them as one big display, so it's no real use as a video player, or at least no better than a single display netbook. It's not particularly suited to normal web browsing, multimedia, or productivity apps as far as I can see either. I am a big fan of multiple displays (I have 3 on my desk), but not when they're that fecking small.

    So if Microsoft are going to launch this soon for real, they better have some killer apps and services lined up that they haven't gotten around to mentioning yet, or it will make the Zune look like a roaring success.

  9. Bilgepipe

    Late Prototype?

    I still see nothing but a CGI rendering, not a prototype. I have a rendering of the Starship Enterprise, does that make it a late prototype?

    @alistair millington: If Asus did one of these, it would drop in half as soon as you opened it. Apple will make a tablet work, all the others will be shite.

  10. Dan 10

    Looks good

    Is it possible MS was resting on it's laurels so much simply because it could? Now that some competition is emerging - certainly in the phone/tablet space, is MS finally getting off it's backside and making something worth having?

  11. tom jones
    Gates Halo

    MS is actually good at something

    I've long thought that MS should give up on it's third rate software/os development pursuits and stick to what it's always been actually very good at - and that is building hardware.

    From their old sidewinder force-feedback input devices to modern consoles and tablets - they are usually solid bits of kit - shame they have to rely on such horrid software.

  12. JS Greenwood

    Microsoft hardware quality

    Now, don't get me wrong - this thing could well be utter pish. It could be slow, bug-ridden, feature-bereft, or just plain vapourware. And from a hardware perspective it could have its very own red-ring-o-death(tm). But...

    ...Microsoft have made a lot of VERY good, robust, reliable hardware over the years. One of my servers still has an original ergonomic ("Natural") keyboard from 1995. 14 years on and having been used on several workstations for 10 hours a day, 5+ days a week, for years on end, and every last key is still faultless. I've got a couple of the original first-release optical mice still going strong after all these years, too, and load of other 10+ year old bits of white/beige plastic that're still in perfect order.

    Depending on who's contracted to build it, whether they go for a premium (Sony/Apple) market segment, or whether they're trying to compete at the Netbook level (Acer/Asus/MSI/etc) will more likely dictate the hardware quality than anything else. TFT screens, x86 architecture, SSDs... these are all off-the-shelf enough to have something as reliable as you want it to be - or as you can get it to be for a given price. If they start venturing into combining newer areas - large scale OLED screens, wireless charging, etc. you can see the window for hardware faults widening.

    I hope it's a phenomenal bit of kit that isn't rushed out prematurely, and is built to the standards of the Zune HD... just to stop Apple from thinking that anything they release will be another golden egg purely because of the fruity logo. The market needs innovation and competition - from all players. Ideally, I'd like it to use something with a bit more grunt than an Atom based platform. Possibly something ION based would be nice?

    Note: I'm no fanboy of any vendor; I just like cool new toys that make my life more fun or easier... Writing this on a Windows machine, have an iPhone to the left of me, a Hackintosh Acer Aspire 1 to the right of me, and set of Linux servers in front of me.

  13. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Thumb Up


    Well said. I am typing this in bed on my Eee 701 4G which has not crashed since I can't remember when. Mea culpa, I'm still running (heavily modified) xandros for reasons of speed.

    Hey el reg? Just an aside... How come we don't see the Eee bird anymore?

  14. Martin 6 Silver badge

    It's not about the hardware

    The point of the kindle isn't the hardware - it's that you can click hear about a book on Oprah click the link and be reading it a few seconds later - and Amazon gets paid.

    Unless MS goes into the giant bookstore business what are you going to do with this?

    Read Gutenberg texts you copied onto it from home?

    Read the Gates autobiography that comes free with it?

    Go to Best Buy and select from the wide range of MS-Reader titles on the shelves?

    Otherwise it's like the zune - Marketing pitch = "an iPod without iTunes"!

  15. Andrew Kemp
    Thumb Down

    @alistair millington

    Time to grow up alistair and stop acting like a dick - the anti-M$ crowd is getting a little dated.

  16. David Webb
    Gates Halo

    @Martin 6

    "Unless MS goes into the giant bookstore business what are you going to do with this?"

    Well, as it's coming with Windows 7, anything you want to apart from play graphics heavy games? If it is running Windows you can run Windows software on it, with Win7 handing the touch screen bits, although if there is a built in mic you can also use voice recognition, though touch screen should be better.

    You'll be able to have an excel spreadsheet docked to the top half of the left screen, an access database docked to the bottom half of the left screen, word docked to the top half of the right screen and a browser of your choice docked to the bottom half of the right hand screen, all on a decent sized book-pad-thingy.

    I think the things this device could do may actually be unlimited, or at least limited by the users imagination, or naturally by the limits of the hardware. It won't need a super powered CPU or GPU to keep the machine cooler, but that's not an issue (Win 7 runs fantastic on older CPUs), just ensure its got a decent amount of RAM.

    The machine has a lot more potential than any Apple could make, any from Jobs would be running a crippled locked down version of OSX and probably be tied into iTunes limiting the software to only stuff that Job's thinks you should run, an MS one running Windows 7, well, what can't Windows do?

    I actually want one of these things, but can't see it arriving before VS2010 which *should* include all the features required to develop app's properly for the touch screen device.

  17. Charles Manning

    Where's the battery?

    If this thing in running Windows 7 it needs a dirty great battery, fans and all the rest that goes with massive CPU and storage usage. Those are not shown here. What is shown here would only get an hour of battery life which would make it relatively pointless.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @alistair millington

    Have you ever actually used a surface display or a zune?

    Yeah, I didn't think so. If you're going to get up to the usual Reg commenter foaming-at-the-mouth anti-MS rants, at least rant about something you have first-hand experience with.

    I've used a couple of different Zunes, and - ok - the marketing was truly awful, but the hardware is quite nice. And while a surface display isn't going to replace a kb/mouse as a general UI, it's a fantastic piece of tech that can be really useful in certain situations. Saying it's a "pants" idea because it's impractical for making powerpoint documents or using a unix shell is kind of shortsighted...

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