Microsoft Courier: Just a Concept after all

It was a sad day today as I scanned the web for news of what was new and exciting going on in the world of Technology. I came across confirmation of what myself, and many others feared for a long time.

The Courier is not real. And it never will be. It was a moment for me personally similar to the one when I learned in the game Portal that “The Cake is a Lie”!

If you remember a while back many of us were excited by User Interface concept videos for the Courier Tablet, and what was supposed to be Microsoft’s unique take on that category of device.

Engadget followed up on those initial videos a few weeks later and confirmed that the device was real, and proceeded to flesh the story out for us all with more details, which hinted very strongly at a real device in the pipeline.

We reported on that here: [touchreviews]

And I had this to say at the time :

If, and this is a big if. But if Microsoft can produce this device so that it looks as good as the pictures we have seen to date. And if the User Interface has the functionality detailed in those concept videos, then the Courier is going to be truly remarkable. And I will camp outside a store or travel half way round the world to buy one on day one. And I’ll want to develop for it too.

I am not convinced that this device will be all that the videos and pictures promise. It just seems too good to be true. But if it is then I think we could see a massive shift in power in the mobile market place.

Well it was “too good to be true”. In fact it’s worse that that.. Microsoft had this to say today :

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.

So that’s it. Probably the best looking stab that any manufacturer has taken at a tablet to date is not going to happen. Perhaps the Courier was not the most well thought out device in its physical form overall. But in its User Interface and conceptual design it was groundbreaking in many ways, and any possible issues it may have had with folding I am sure could have been worked out. Especially if its size was to be around that which Engadget predicted.

HP also cancelled their Windows 7 tablet yesterday after having purchased Palm and webOS.

So with HP grabbing Palm, perhaps recognising where webOS might take them in the tablet arena, and then clearly deciding they need to play catchup to Apple, who are apparently years ahead of everyone else with the iPad. Microsoft have cancelled their remaining tablet project a day after HP killed their only other upcoming Tablet product of any import. A Tablet that Steve Ballmer proudly announced on stage at CES earlier this year.

I have to wonder who makes the important decision at Microsoft these days!

Are you disappointed that Microsoft will not make the Courier? Let us know in the comments.

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2 Comments on “Microsoft Courier: Just a Concept after all”

  1. Fastwalking

    Disappointed? No. Shocked and amazed. This product had legs and could have easily stood up against ipad and thereby keep Microsoft relavent in the months and years ahead. I guess what they are really saying is that they dont know how to pull it together. Microsoft is no longer a tool of the future, but a tool of the past. Clearly we must look elsewhere for innovation and exciting new products. Its called evolution.

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