Microsoft's Courier 'digital journal': The 'second coming' of all student tech

Microsoft's Courier 'digital journal': The 'second coming' of all student tech

Summary: Microsoft's new digital journal known as 'Courier' with updated screenshots and two videos, if concept becomes reality, this will change student computing forever.

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There's a reason why I have never even looked at the concept images or videos of Microsoft's new digital journal, Courier, without a sour, unfriendly taste in my mouth until now. Microsoft had nothing but love and energy pumped into their concepts, whereas the real thing is horrifically different.

My colleague Mary Jo Foley has questioned the even existence of this device, similarly to how I think. Had they stitched together and trimmed down half of the Microsoft research projects in play at the moment, they already have most of it there.

But if in the deep, dark world of Microsoft's Redmond campus there is even a smidgen of hope for this device, I ask that you rally up around me and take the place by storm so we can prove it really is there.

If this device, through the videos above courtesy of Engadget via Steve Clayton, will turn out to be what they say they are, you can lay your laptop or netbook down and light a candle of solidarity for this technological second-coming.

This my student friends, will be it. Discuss.

Topics: Hardware, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets

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68 comments
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  • iPad Killer:Yes

    If this device is anything like the previews, this may develope into the newest inovation in years. For starters it will easily serve as an advertising executives dream come true. A close friend of mine took 1 look at the videos and her first words were "I want one now". After 30 years in advertising, this device may well be a dream come true.
    I wish I could pre-order 2 of them right now. Apple needs to sell as many iPads now because when the Courier is released, the iPad will be dealt a fast sudden death.
    ccrasher
    • As long as they market strictly to professionals...

      ... the Courier will do poorly against the iPad. If Microsoft really
      wants to go somewhere with this thing, they need to really reach
      out to the market that counts--and I don't believe that will be
      business.
      Vulpinemac
      • Ah that explains why Microsoft has 92% of the computer market share... {nt}

        .
        WinTard
        • What explains MS' share of the MP3 player market?

          <nt>
          SpiritusInMachina
      • You make a good point

        But I think it will also be big for business. I look at it and I see all the things I can do businesswise with it. I love the idea that I can write ideas and easily copy and paste things into journals. BUT I also would like to use it for play. I'd love to watch movies on it and have the movie play in the upper display and have the dvd controls in the bottom, or have trivia about the movie. I'd love to play games on it, this could be used similar to the Nintendo DS, with part of the game on one screen and part on the second. I'm hoping Microsoft sees this vision too. From the videos though it looks like its more for business which means to me it better be at a lower price.
        rkegel@...
    • Lemmings and suckers

      OK, take a deep breath and repeat after me:
      The Courier is NOT a real product,
      The Courier is NOT a real product,
      The Courier is NOT a real product.

      As I have pointed out to Mary Jo Foley and others, back when she was
      still duped into believing this farce, this device is not a product, it is
      not a beta version, it is not a working mockup. It is not even a
      nonfunctional mockup.
      It is only a computer-generated animated video. Hell, they couldn't
      even be bothered to use an actual human hand model in the video.
      There is no proof that MS has ANY intention of EVER either producing
      this turd, or farming out the fab or specs to others.

      This is just fantasy, pure and simple. Pre-order? I'll tell you what, I'll
      sell you my shares in the Brooklyn Bridge, for 50cents on the dollar,
      and you can use the profit you make from selling them to purchase
      your brand new MS Courier.

      P.T. Barnum had nothing on Steve Ballmer's MicroSoft
      SpiritusInMachina
      • What you meant to say was...

        I HOPE the Courier is NOT a real product.
        I HOPE the Courier is NOT a real product.
        I HOPE the Courier is NOT a real product.

        Because you're an Apple fanboy, and you're not
        one of the stupid, frothing-at-the-mouth ones
        who gobble up any Apple product no matter how
        poor (Apple TV!) it is.

        You're smart enough to know exactly what's
        going to happen to the iPad for any sort of
        student and business environment when Courier
        is released. Death.

        In all honesty, I foresee a place in the home
        for both an iPad and a Courier. Until, that
        is, Microsoft releases an iPad sized version of
        Courier, and then iPad is doomed to extinction,
        just another technological cul de sac that will
        end up forgotten and the subject of those "Top
        10 Worst Ideas Made Reality" lists sometime in
        the distant future.
        cbozeman
        • Speaking of zealotry...

          ... you're a perfect example. You make so many statements as
          though they were established facts, not merely conjecture.

          I don't deny that the Courier [i]could[/i] be something nice, but
          at least for now, these few videos really don't offer much more
          than an older-style PDA using a stylus on some sort of display
          along with the touch. If--and that's a very big word in this
          case--the Courier comes out, the only possible market for it is
          likely to be as a rather underpowered PDA in the enterprise
          market, one potentially already adopting other, less limited
          devices by the time it hits the general market.

          Honestly, I can't see any concept where the Courier and a
          touch-tablet can serve side-by-side, at work or in the home.
          Trying to say that a larger version would eliminate the iPad is
          like saying Windows Tablet Edition will blow open the market
          for all tablet PCs.... Ummm... after 10 years, it hasn't happened
          yet.

          I'm trying to see the Courier in a positive light, but honestly if
          you ask me it's going to be just as useless as netbooks are
          today. If it were first, it might have done as well as the
          netbook; but the netbook's days are numbered and Apple isn't
          going to be the only reason.
          Vulpinemac
          • Okay you don't need to write anymore...

            "it's going to be just as useless as netbooks
            are
            today"

            The fastest growing segment of the personal
            computing market is useless? Look out the
            window, your credibility on the pulse of the
            computing market just flew away.

            I'll be sure to get the news out to Acer,
            Lenovo, and MSI.

            I use a netbook right now because I don't want
            to haul around my gaming laptop to and from
            classes. My gaming laptop was a fine machine
            when I was on deployments to the Middle East
            and I could just plug it in to a power outlet
            near my rack, on the mess decks, or in other
            parts of the ship.

            Unfortunately, I don't always have a power
            outlet handy in all my classes here at
            university. What I do have, is an Acer Aspire
            One that has a 7 hour battery life running
            Windows 7 Ultimate. I can take notes on it, I
            can browse the web on it, I can do with it
            anything I need to, except perhaps draw
            diagrams (easily).

            If you watched the demos, you saw how easily
            she was able to doodle on it. This is perfect
            for my science-based classes where there's a
            lot of drawing going on. If textbook suppliers
            get behind this, like McGraw-Hill for instance,
            it'll be just one more reason to take Courier
            over iPad.
            cbozeman
          • Jessica Rabbit, hand model

            Growth rate has nothing to do with usefulness. Look at the growth
            rate of robot gerbils.
            Time will only tell if this is something to note, or a brief flash of
            market foolishness.

            Interestingly, the numbers seem to show that netbooks are eating into
            notebook sales of the same companies that make both. More
            importantly, if one looks at total profit from the netbook sector, even
            with their increased foot print, they are dwarfed by those from the
            companies' own notebook sales. As such, netbook sales lead to overall
            decreases in company profits. This is NOT hat Acer, Lenovo, and MSI
            wanted, I am sure.

            Now, I have to wonder, what was the point in referring to your laptop
            as a "gaming laptop." So what? Why is it that MS apologists always
            seem so fixated on playing games? It comes off as some sort of
            bragging point, but it really just rings hollow.

            "If you watched the demos, you saw how easily
            she was able to doodle on it."

            You do realize that there was no "she," right? It was an animated
            hand. Again, since yo appear to have missed it, THERE IS NO SUCH
            THING AS THE COURIER. it does not exist. It is not a functional
            prototype. It is not even a nonfunctional physical mock up. It is an
            animation. You are foaming at the mouth over a cartoon!
            SpiritusInMachina
          • You might want to search for "Microsoft Codex"

            And what you'll find is the early working
            prototypes of what has become Microsoft
            Courier.

            I used the term "gaming laptop" because it
            conjures up the image of a large, unwieldy
            machine with poor battery life - which it is.
            My gaming laptop gets horrendous battery life,
            but is extremely powerful.

            Unfortunately, I don't need extreme power to
            take
            notes in a class on Microsoft OneNote. I just
            need a simple, basic computer - my netbook.

            You keep trying to reiterate the point of there
            being "no such thing" as the Microsoft Courier,
            yet various tech sites' sources are claiming
            that not only is it real, but that we can
            expect it in the next 12 months.

            What, exactly, are you so afraid of? You
            aren't Steve Jobs are you? I think Apple has
            enough people worried about Courier and the
            lack of enthusiasm over the iPad, you don't
            need to jump on the bandwagon.
            cbozeman
          • The Codex? That's what you come back with? Seriously?

            "And what you'll find is the early working prototypes of what has
            become Microsoft Courier."

            And again,the Courier exists ONLY as an animation. No prototype,
            working or not. So the Codex has gone from a cobbled together
            mockup built from two NON-Microsoft OQOs to a cartoon. Nice
            progression. Also note that most of the mock ups of the CODEX are
            not real, but rather photoshopped. Nice.

            And you are claiming that MS will have a product in 12 months?!?
            Seriously? Do you know ANYTHING about product development cycles?
            Good luck with that.

            "You keep trying to reiterate the point of there
            being "no such thing" as the Microsoft Courier,
            yet various tech sites' sources are claiming
            that not only is it real, but that we can
            expect it in the next 12 months."

            I reiterate it because it is the case. Note that nothing you have said
            denies this. As for what various "tech sources" are claiming, um, so
            what. MS is still no closer to a product. ZDNet and Mary Jo Foley were
            among this choir, but seem to have finally come to their collective
            senses. What EVIDENCE have these so-called tech sources put
            forward. None, you say?
            Again, good luck with that.

            In fact, the only thing MS, a company with a LONG history of
            announcing products extremely prematurely, and then having them
            disappear well before ANY product ever hits shelves, had to offer was
            the HP slate. Please.

            "What, exactly, are you so afraid of? You
            aren't Steve Jobs are you?"

            Um, nothing. Even if MS DID release the Courier, I would not fear it.
            Good for them. The issue is not fear, it is the fact that there is NO
            evidence that the Courier will EVER see the light of day, and yet
            people such as yourself keep acting as if it will be on shelves in a
            week.

            "I think Apple has
            enough people worried about Courier and the
            lack of enthusiasm over the iPad, you don't
            need to jump on the bandwagon."

            Um, what?!? Have you seen the pre-order stats? Claiming that these
            indicate a "lack of enthusiasm" just confirms your delusionary status.
            Certainly the online buzz indicates quite the opposite.

            Lastly, since a single OQO runs as much as $2000, good luck with
            using a pair of them for your iPad slaying.
            SpiritusInMachina
        • What I meant to say

          Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?!?

          I have no need to "HOPE the Courier is NOT a real product."

          You do KNOW that it isn't right? Are you claiming it is?!? Please tell me
          where I can find it for sale. Or see it being demoed. Or review its
          specs. Please point me to ANY review of the "product."

          Again, IT DOES NOT EXIST.

          ANd please tell me exactly why AppleTV is a poor product. It is a
          device that fills a niche, and is making a profit for Apple, despite
          them putting almost zero effort into it. It is not without its issues, and
          personally, I have no use for one. I would prefer a MediaNAS. But for
          those for whom it serves a need, it serves it quite well.

          As for Courier spelling death to the iPad, please. First, again, the
          courier is another example of MS scamware, where they "compete"
          against a product by announcing a "project" they are working on that
          blows the other devices in the category out of the water, complete
          with demos and fancy specs, all for half the cost, but which NEVER
          actually gets produced. Everyone holds off on getting the original
          product from the small OEM, waiting for MS's salvo, which never
          actually gets produced.
          That you believe that it is real is sad.

          As for your last bit of inanity, even you must realize how illogical it is.
          You claim the iPad will be destroyed by the Courier once an iPad sized
          unit comes out. You are talking about not only a device that exists
          only in Steve Ballmer's wet dreams, but now you are making up
          fantastic, even more nebulous updates to it.

          1) Again, there is no such thing.
          2) The one in the video is not even a physical mockup. As such, even
          if MS WERE planning on making it (doubtful) it would be at LEAST a
          year and a half before it saw the light of day.
          3) Then you are talking at least another year before your envisioned
          "upgrade." This device is not only not real, a fake demo from MS, but
          now a fake device from YOU.

          By that time, the original iPad would have most likely gone through 3
          revisions. Claiming this would then kill the now 2-3 year old iPad is
          like claiming that the WinMo9 will crush the HTC android phones.
          SpiritusInMachina
          • Were you saying the same thing about the iPad...

            ...a year ago?

            Somehow I doubt you were... you rampant
            fanboyism towards Apple is getting to be
            annoying, and the stupidity and naivety you're
            displaying is becoming particularly
            distressing.

            I've always been partial to the best product,
            and the iPad isn't it, the HP Slate isn't it,
            and tablet notebooks aren't it either.

            The iPad is locked down into the closed
            ecosystem of Apple, lacks Flash support, no
            user-replaceable battery, and no external
            memory addition (i.e., SD card).

            I don't like tablet notebooks because the
            toolbars of programs I use often, like MS
            OneNote, are still small, and I feel like I
            spend too much time navigating around to useful
            tools; there's no way I could make a detailed
            drawing using one as quickly as I could with a
            pencil and a piece of paper.

            I can't comment on the HP Slate because I don't
            know enough about it yet, and I haven't used
            one personally.

            I really hope you're still here reading ZD Net
            when Courier drops... although I doubt you'll
            have the intestinal fortitude to post about it;
            no need to worry though, I'll be sure to
            mention you.
            cbozeman
          • na?vet?

            I wasn't saying anything much of anything about the iPad a year ago. I
            know better than to comment on nonexistent products.

            Rampant fanboyism? First, just using that term makes your argument
            suspect. More importantly however, I have not made a SINGLE pro
            Apple comment in this thread. I have merely pointed out that the
            Courier is vapourware. You on the other hand, are championing a
            device that is not even real, but exists only as a cartoon! And you're
            claiming I'm the fanboy?

            As for the rest, the closed Apple ecosystem, while an annoyance at
            times, is hardly a deal killer, as evidenced by sales of iPhones and iPod
            touches. The lack of Flash support is hardly a major drawback, and
            serves to make the device more usable (Flash sucks, and Adobe knows
            it.) The major draw for flash is YouTube, and that is taken care of with
            the YouTube App. I can change an iPhone battery in under 4 minutes,
            so I fail to see your point about sealed batteries, other than to parrot
            silly talking points. Besides which, how many people change the
            batteries on their MP players. C'mon.
            But I'll give you no SD card slot.

            "I can't comment on the HP Slate because I don't
            know enough about it yet, and I haven't used
            one personally."

            Didn't stop you from talking about either the iPad or the Courier?

            "I really hope you're still here reading ZD Net
            when Courier drops... although I doubt you'll
            have the intestinal fortitude to post about it;
            no need to worry though, I'll be sure to
            mention you."

            Yeah, I hope you do the same in a year when there is no Courier.

            FTR, you need to get on the ball. The Courier has been in the rumour
            mill for over half a year. You are late to this particular boat.
            SpiritusInMachina
          • Intestinal fortitude

            ((( "I really hope you're still here reading ZD Net when Courier drops... although
            I doubt you'll have the intestinal fortitude to post about it..." )))

            Well, here it is, three weeks later, and The Courier has been canceled, and
            Microsoft has admitted that it was never even intended to be produced as a
            real product. It was NEVER anything more than an animation, just as
            DeusExMachina correctly predicted.

            How are your intestines holding up?
            buddhistMonkey
    • <nt>

      <nt>
      SpiritusInMachina
  • RE: Microsoft's Courier 'digital journal': The 'second coming' of all student tech

    I do not get it? It seems to be too specific of a device to me and will not appeal to the masses. Too many slate, touchbook, touchpad, or other similar devices coming to market that will do much more then the Courier. I don't see the evolution in this device.
    sruckh
    • Pricing will play the big key

      The issue of pricing on the Courier will be the real hitting point. If its as costly as an iPad the iPad may provide too much competition for the narrow market.

      On the other hand, if the price is kept down it opens up the very real possibility that there are many out there who would like this relatively specific device and if its priced right then its all good.

      The problem always is with a device thats many things to many people it has to sometimes be a device that cost more and as such its got to provide something extra or better because it may be required to actually replace other items because of cost and portability issues.

      If it cannot fully replace some items its going to be a real question of total costs for your gadgets and then the issue of lugging them all around. Thats the hurdle the iPad had to jump.

      On the other hand, with this Courier, if the cost is low enough and the device isn't so big that lugging it is going to be an additional burden the fact it has a bit more narrow of a focus may be a huge help as a selling point.

      If the Courier actually replaces some pen and paper notebooks and gives some before unheard of new features not readily available in other portable devices it has to be viewed differently then something like the iPad. Cost will be key.

      Everyone is trying to invent the next new big thing, but, if the next new thing cost too much or is just too big to be lugging that one extra new thing everywhere, then its chances of being the next new thing become slimmer with each degree its cost and/or size increases.
      Cayble
      • No the key point is that it does not exist

        and there is very little chance that it ever will.
        SpiritusInMachina