back to article Microsoft's dual-screen booklet shows 'face' on web

More delicious rumor scraps about Microsoft's not-yet-announced Courier tablet/e-book/Girl Tech Password Journal have been leaked to the web. The folks at Engadget unveiled some new Courier info from a "trusted" source. At the very least, Courier is shaping to be a collection of fabulous concept art. If the actual product can …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Break down the functions

    The touch interface: Tech developed for Surface/Windows 7/Windows Phone 7 Series, all tech thats been seen/touched/released. Microsoft have the touch capability to do this most definately.

    Hardware Design: They're releasing the Pink feature phones in the US, so clearly moving into hardware isn't the anti-christ anymore

    Cool looking screen crop/drag: just a touch version of snipping tool already available to the windows kernel, easily ported to Windows CE

    Zune interface: The left screen is completely following the Zune interface when looking through picture albums etc

    Why can't this be released?

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Clever video

    Hope whoever did it gets an A for their project.

    I'm guessing a post grad in Electronic Arts?

  3. Gary F 1

    Hey Boss, the plane, THE PLANE...

    I seriously laughed out loud watching this. This is from Fantasy Island.

    Surely even the Windows fanboys aren't gonna swallow this ?

    Do you truly believe that MS are going to produce such a streamlined, smooth, intuitive interface with a backend to power it (and all based on the Zune / Win mobile platform).


    The can't even make a decent, elegant interface on a top end PC, never mind a lowly tablet.

    If you do believe it, then I have a nice bridge in London to sell you at a nice price.

    What next, MS introduce Windows 8 using clips with Tom Cruise using the Holographic interface from "Minority Report".

    At least when Apple announce a product, they show the real hardware, with the real software running on it, not this concept bullsh*t.

    Seriously, leave the fairy tales to the brother Grimm.

  4. Frozen Ghost


    I like how at 0:25 it used Google Maps to show the position rather than Bing Maps - really gives me confidence that this rendering will be just like the real device!

  5. Neur0mancer
    Gates Halo


    If the Courier can do that, and do it like that, then holy shit. That was amazingly good.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Seadragon tends to feature prominently in demos and geek conferences. The latest one was at a TED talk.

    I have yet to see an implementation even remotely close to those T3/i7/3.3GHz/Cached demos in the wild.

    Could this be a seahorse?

  7. Eddy Ito
    Thumb Up

    Yes please

    If they can pull off something like that and it isn't digitally restricted, I dare say the temptation might even get a tightwad like me to part with some coin. What's that, you say it starts at 500 clams for the feeble version? Hmm, perhaps not.

  8. Martin Lyne

    If it worked like that..

    .. I would be very pleased. Very nicely presented video, but will all this nice-to-have functionality have been included at the expense of more useful tools and functionality?

    The device itself doesn't seem to be that interesting, just a dual-monitor laptop with no keyboard essentially. The software is what made the video. Interesting.

  9. Fibbles

    Title Required

    .... bloody hell, a Microsoft product I'd be more than happy to queue for on a cold street at midnight. Quick somebody call Lucifer and ask him what the weather is like down there!

  10. Giles Jones Gold badge

    iPad next month

    Or wait 3 years for wrangling inside Microsoft about wether to release this or not.

    Zune is only available as a grey import as far as I can tell, so the prospects of getting a Courier in the UK are slim. So I don't think anyone who needs a tablet should put off the iPad purchase for another vapourware Microsoft offering.

  11. mafoo

    So Original...

    Someone at microsoft really wants to bring the Newton back i see.

  12. Ken Hagan Gold badge


    I hope they've patented the idea of using two screens like that. If they don't, Apple will and then MS would be unable to sell it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apple IP infringer

      Exactly, the iPod touch is great, it uses game style simple harmonic motion animations, (which Apple then patented), it uses multi-touch invented in the 70's (which Apple then patented), it uses pinch zoom from the 70's (which Apple then patented).

      They are a major league IP parasite, and I've no doubt even though 2 touch screens are on the Nintendo DS, Apple would still patent that too. They patented other game interface animations like the side scroll.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That's more the size and form factor I'd be looking for in one of these sorts of devices than the iPad was. Assuming it actually works as well as the mock up.

  14. Vinz666

    That's a google-maps map!

    ...isn't it?

  15. RMartin

    What is going on?

    First Windows Phone 7 makes the iPhone interface look like something from the last decade, now this. Looks like Microsoft have finally hired some decent UI designers. Now if they can just build the things...

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Cool but....

    As you said yourselves, "believe it when you see it".

    Unfortunately, the reality will (of course) be slow and , buggy. It will be full of eye candy but not actually very usable. The lovely seemless demo will turn into the usual Windows clutter of pop-ups and bubbles telling you really useful stuff like "you have disconnected the network cable" or "you have some unused icons" or "this device could work faster in a USB2 port". All the really cool stuff like videos etc will be almost useless because of all the DRM. Any applications you run on it will still crash and bring the system down with them. And half the processor time will be spent running virus scanners!

    This is the Microsoft Way (TM).

  17. Fractured Cell
    Thumb Down


    Not the full OS?!?

    First the iTablet, and now this?

    I thought I was actually going to get a decent tablet offering this year...

    Guess not.


  18. Bilgepipe


    Courier is just vaporware. It's not even a single coherent product, it's been any one of a list of vague concepts for two years. Even if it arrives in any physical form outside of a CGI rendering, it will be a third, incompatible entry into Microsoft's mobile platform failure.

    Microsoft should actually try to create a product some time, instead of concentrating on trying to trip up its competitors - they even fail at that.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Girl sounds hot... don't really care about The Courier though. I'll be sure to remember it's advanced scrap booking features next time I'm an old lady.

  20. Dafydd Lawrence

    Old story?

    I saw this video 2 or 3 months ago?

    There is a second one as well that is similar. It seemed like it was a concept from a marketing/design company to sell the idea to Microsoft and not the real product just a concept.

  21. Flybert

    I like the concept

    think the future of this is a larger dual wide screen virtual briefcase .. a true fold out desktop

    can be oriented as pages / book or as conventional laptop

    it's a matter of who can implement all the parts and the interface smoothly

    and who knows, you certainly couldn't expect normal channels in MicroSoft to pull it off, but perhaps Bill has his own lab group as Chief Software Engineer and has some independance

  22. RichyS
    Gates Horns

    Dear god

    If the final product (if and when it ever ships) looks anything like that, I'll be amazed.

    And, just how usable is the UI for anyone who isn't a pointless interior designer? Like the other 99.9% of us. How about some more likely use cases MS?

    Releasing stuff like this is only going to disappoint people -- in the same way that real cars never look like the concept cars on which they're based; the end result for Courier will no doubt be just like most other tablets, just with a really annoying spine in the middle of the screen.

  23. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Concept demo

    This is an early concept demo - the kind that Marketing departments show internally at regular intervals. They imagine the workflows of 5 to 10 target customers then display a product serving them. After this meeting, Engineering finds that 90% of the product's decisions shown in the demo were made without sufficient input parameters (magic is not an input parameter). Test groups say, "That's amazing, but can it..." Project managers add up the costs and find it too expensive for the target customer. The demo and the specifications are reworked for a couple of months and eventually the amazing magical product looks quite common.

  24. V-Star Rider
    Thumb Up

    This could be very interesting ...

    I'm not really a fan when it comes to MicroSoft, but if they manage to bring out something even close to what can be seen in the (mocked-up) video, then I'm hooked.

    It's exactly what I have been looking for in a ... well, I'm not sure what to call it ... it's more than a PDA, but less than my Notebook ... but no matter what ... it seems to fit the way I work very well and seems to address all the things that I find lacking with my smartphone right now.

    Exciting times ...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ah well ...

    ... looks like I'll have to buy that as well as an iPad.

    Stunning technology but a bit of a sexist (?) name? A girly girl pad?

    A dude pad does not seem much better no?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another iPad - so soon

    Promises, promises. It will probably run on Windows mobile and another good idea wasted.

    But hey - if it works like it shows, fantastic - where do I order?

  27. Charles Manning

    I just innovated a Flying Car!!!

    Unfortunately the masking tape unsticks and the cardboard gets soggy in the rain, but it looks neat on youtube.

    btw: IIRC, Zunes do not run WinCE. Soon after the Zune's release I spoke witha Microsoftie on the WinCE dev team taking the piss out of Zune and he was very keen to distance WinCE from Zune telling me Zune ran other software and not WinCE. Perhaps he could not face the shame and was lying.

  28. RJ


    Assuming the courier matches the hype so far it will sell like hotcakes. Sod the iPad.

    I am a die-hard open-sourcer and not being able to buy that when it is released is going to suck

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Well why not?

      Sounds like a great hot project for a lot of people to collaborate on like Gnome and KDE at the moment.

      It would be insanely complicated to write, but I think the hardest part would be coming up with the framework to hang all the functionality off. Would require a big paradigm shift like BeOS tried to do.

  29. Stuart Duel
    Gates Horns

    Cool concept art.

    However, I'll take the actual real, fully resolved iPad over yet another piece of intangible, non-existent and no doubt complete fantasy vapourware from Microsoft.

  30. ratfox
    Jobs Halo

    Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery

    It is a measure of the respect Apple commands, that there are me-too copies of its products being drafted even before the original is on sale. Even the Reg is writing about iPad killers before the iPad is actually successful...

    Halo Steve, because whatever you think of Apple, it is impressive

  31. sleepy


    Yes, let's see some real hardware doing this in a punter's sweaty hands on Youtube. Even Windows Phone 7 is a long way from that. MS has tried to spoil competitors' business for decades by pre-announcing a product which is "better" but doesn't actually exist. And when it does finally arrive years later than promised, it has little resemblance to the original spoiler announcement. And this isn't even an announcement. At least Sculley never pretended Apple were about to ship the Knowledge Navigator in 1987. Or maybe MS Courier is not going to ship for 23 years either.

    Apple have shown MS that their business model no longer works properly. MS needs to do something in a hurry. What quicker than having some designers cobble up Flash -sorry- Silverlight renderings of dream handheld products, then building them by implementing Flash -sorry- Silverlight over the top of an old OS. Until they discover what's involved in producing seamless innards behind the UI, which in the case of iPad has had twenty years continuous development since NextStep 1.0.

  32. Stu Wilson

    I didn't get that email

    "hey dude! wheres that Cohiba Theme you were going to send me on the texture/colours you were wanting to use?"

    "well I sent it using my new Microsoft Courier earlier, let me check my email?"

    ... 20 minutes later...

    ... "Hugo, sorry apparently it thought i wanted to send the email to Hugh Grant"

  33. karakalWitchOfTheWest
    Gates Halo

    If the real product...

    ...will work and look just close like this animation I will definitely buy one...

  34. Andy Jones


    Microsoft do this all the time. Someone threatens to release a product, an actual product with an actual release date, and Microsoft come along and announce their magical product that always is a lot better than the competitions. Problem is, if it exists it will be late and severely underdeliver.

    Please wake me up when they have actual pictures of the product, and not mockups!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Astonishingly nice. I'd love to see it in reality. Too bad it's taken MS this long to put what looks like a large number of their XBox team onto something like this...they're seriously getting it together (potentially). They could very definitely redefine themselves with this sort of product - there's a huge, thick, dusty old coat waiting to be thrown off and this is the silk dress beneath.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    too specialised?

    from the looks of the video - great for art/design folk and those who like to keep some scribbly jounral -= but could the toolset be too restrictive for general use? or could the masses not use the features because they operate in different ways? (particularly thinking of the cut-group functions and the use of the journal paradigm rather than just a folder?)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hannover Police Raids

    According to Engadget, Apple, Siemens and Sisvel got the police to raid an Android table maker from China claiming patent infringements:

    This company:

    Looks like they didn't like a $95 Android platform, if they demanded $10,000 fine then the rights claimed were tiny and even less than the cost of the police raid & lawyers involved. Which makes me think it was another protectionism measure disguised as 'IP' rights.

  38. DanX
    Thumb Up

    Groove 2010 for e-pads...

    This is basically a new Grove Mobile with better graphical interface, and better Onenote intergration.

    I don't beleive it will exist for such a long time. The improvements they've been making in Groove have been very slow seeming to me. (its a cool product but I've yet to find an actual use for it - I keep looking) And one note - I don't even know if I have it installed. I tend to just use Word files for any research I need to do. Primative - but I'm much better at using word than onenote - and with out the pen interface I don't need its features.

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    It seems others have not forgotten "Pen Windows"

    And BTW how far did Active Directory come relative to Novell's product?

    Yes it's a cool demo. Forget the *actual* subject matter and focus on the *capabilities* of the underlying software/hardware platform. If it ever gets built.

    thumbs up as it's good to know that others have not forgotten some of MS favorite SOP's.

  40. joe 4

    M$ propaganda

    this was a 'leak"? looks more like a TV ad to me

  41. elder norm

    Yes.... but no

    While it looks great, I keep having issues / doubts. While pen scribbling can be neat, unless its dumped into a text editor, you have to worry about people being able to read it, to cut and paste the info, etc.

    And the mail with out checking the address..... right... that will fly like a lead balloon.

    No, I think MS is just blowing smoke here to stall any Apple success. They think its a great idea and have been using it for years. But as shown above/below, people are getting wise.

    Just a thought,


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