Tablet PCs might just be a signal of a shift in the direction of computing. Simple, portable, functionally specific devices intended to meet particular computing needs efficiently--not dumbed down PCs, but something unique in its own right. Take for example the just released info on Microsoft’s Courier tablet/eBook. Like other recent tablet announcements, the Courier defines a new ethos for personal computing.
Engadget’s offering some new pictures of the Courier, along with two high-def videos that show off its look and functionality. The Courier, Engadget tells us, will have a clamshell form, which will measure slightly bigger than 5 x 7 when closed. The device is built around the Tegra 2 and is expected to run on the same OS as the Zune HD, Pink, and Windows Mobile 7 series devices, rather than a constricted version of Windows 7. The device will be pen-based, but also allow for touch operation. It appears to have tightly integrated applications that mimic a journal. And there just might be some web/cloud computing tie-ins as well.
Microsoft’s approach with Courier seems similar to that of Apple with the iPad--a multi-functional, but limited device that stresses mobility over power. This suggests that the uni-functional eBooks of today might have a relatively short shelf live. (Amazon’s rumored color Kindle upgrade seems consistent with this possibility.)
The Courier is expected to make a formal appearance in “Q3/Q4”. Pricing is unknown as this time.