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Microsoft's Courier better have more juju than JooJoo

The JooJoo/CrunchPad made its debut on December 7 and was largely panned in the process. Microsoft is supposedly working on a new tablet, too, codenamed Courier. I'm not convinced (yet) of any of these devices' appeal, beyond the coolness factor.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Contributor on

The JooJoo/CrunchPad made its debut on December 7 and was largely panned in the process.

The multimedia device, slated to cost $500 and ship starting in February 2010 (if legal tie-ups don't end up kill it completely), looks like a pricey, heavy, one-trick tablet. (Its seemingly most compelling feature is that it boots up in nine seconds. Need I say more?)

Microsoft supposedly is working on a whole new kind of tablet, codenamed Courier. So far, all we've seen of Courier is some fancy marketing videos. I had heard from one of my sources Courier could debut in 2010, but since that time have been told that next year is way too early a delivery date for the device.

Apple, Fusion Garage/TechCrunch, Microsoft -- whoever delivers a next-gen multimedia tablet to market first -- has some serious explaining to do, as far as who needs a dedicated Web-surfing tablet and why (beyond the "my device is cooler than yours" factor). Can't a $300-plus netbook running Windows 7 or the Chrome OS do whatever the JooJoo can, and for less money? In Windows 7's case, it can do a lot more, everything from acting as a Kindle reader, to allowing you to run local, non-Web-based applications.

The Courier, at least based on very early information, sounds more like a planner-on-steroids than a me-too touchpad. I still like the idea of a compact, thin device that provides more screen real estate than a phone (that's why I love my Kindle and don't have any interest in reading books on a phone). But until someone actually shows me some compelling PC/mobile Internet device touch applications, I'm not trading in my PC for any kind of dedicated tablet.

What about you? Do you see a market for yet another portable device like the Courier or another kind of new tablet? Or do you think a PC or smartphone will obviate the need for these kinds of dedicated Web-surfing devices?

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