iPad, schmiPad: New pics of the Microsoft Courier

| March 7, 2010

Does the Apple iPad leave you wanting more? Instead, some people are holding out for the long-awaited, much-anticipated Courier tablet to finally hit the scene. The dual screen Microsoft device has had the industry holding its breath since early last fall, and now there are new images and details to pant over. And it looks like it could give the Apple tablet a real run for its money. (Scroll below to see the pics, courtesy of Engadget.)

The Courier is less than an inch thick and just over a pound, with a clamshell design featuring two screens sized similar to 5 x 7 photos. (I’m actually surprised by this. Previous pics made it seem a lot bigger.) Word has it, there will be a built-in camera and an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor running a version of the same OS that powers the gorgeous Zune HD and Windows Mobile 7 series — Windows CE 6. 

The two touch-sensitive displays take pen-based input, which is a match made for handwriting recognition. Looks like writing and designing will be the intended primary use, but Microsoft’s also reportedly emphasizing eReader-like functionality for the Courier. Well, that makes sense, considering its form factor is similar to a book.

So far, there’s no info on whether the Courier will be offered as Wifi only or piggyback on some sort of cellular data network, but if so, it would definitely pit the device against the Apple iPad. Given both tablets’ focus on ebooks, though, there’s one question that keeps coming up for me: The Nook and Kindle both offer e-ink display technology that makes reading less of a strain on the eyes. What will reading be like on either the Courier or iPad? Gluing eyes to a glossy, glassy display for hours on end is enough to cross even the hardiest eyeballs.

I guess we’ll find out when the iPad launches (3/12 for pre-orders, 4/3 for delivery), or when the Courier finally drops (expected between Q3 and Q4 2010).

The price for the Courier isn’t known yet, but for those of you thinking about it, how much would you be willing to pay for it?

Via: Engadget

ADDENDUM: In addition to the new images, Engadget posted two full-length HD videos of the interface in action. If you’ve been following Courier news, then some of this might seem familiar, but there’s also some new stuff here, so click here to go there.

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