Gizmodo reports today that Microsoft’s much-hyped Courier tablet has been canceled. Prototypes of the Courier featured folding dual-screens that relied on stylus and handwriting recognition as its primary input. The “digital journal” took a very different approach to the tablet PC as the polarizing iPad- one which many iPad haters considered a welcome difference.
The official announcement came from Microsoft Corporate VP of Communications Frank Show, who said, “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.”
Prior to the iPad’s release, Bill Gates expressed his lack of confidence in Apple’s touch-only tablet, noting, “I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen, and a real keyboard- in other words a netbook- will be the mainstream on that.” Perhaps this is a sign that Microsoft is now rethinking its strategy in the tablet market- either going for a more direct iPad competitor, or perhaps dropping out of the tablet running entirely in favor of more traditional netbook form-factors.