Microsoft Postpones Release of Folding, Dual-Screen Tablet PC

Courier, Microsoft's take on the tablet PC, will probably not be released until early 2011 for design and marketing reasons.

Details about Courier, Microsoft’s take on the tablet PC, first emerged last year, drawing a lot of attention for its folding, dual-screen design. However, reports within the last month reveal that the device has apparently been sent back to the drawing board, and will probably not be released until the beginning of 2011 at the earliest.

The latest design reports described Courier as a two-screen device, capable of folding like a book, that was roughly the size of a 5 x 7 photo, less than an inch thick, and weighing just over a pound. It was supposedly going to use the same operating system core as Windows 7 and Zune HD but with a different user interface.

However, according to Gizmodo, Microsoft executives informed the internal team that had been working on the project last week that it would no longer be supported. Gizmodo contacted Microsoft, who confirmed that the project was no longer going into production, and were provided the following statement from Frank Shaw, Microsoft Corporate VP of Communications:

“At any given time, we're looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them. It's in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity. The Courier project is an example of this type of effort. It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.”

According to TabletPCReview.com, the designers have yet to decide what the target market for the device will be, and the hardware designers “are apparently having problems giving a device that mostly screen a reasonable battery life.” The site suggests that these may be a couple of the reasons that Courier’s release has been postponed.