Monday, March 15, 2010

Microsoft Courier or Apple IPad ?

D&M Innoventions series are each week-end on Disney and more and the goal is to introduce some amazing technologies. If you like Epcot, Tomorrowland and the spirit of the Future, then this article is for you!

Since yesterday it is possible to pre-order on the Apple web site the awaited IPad which will be released in the U.S on April 3 and at the end of April in other countries. I am always furious that no webcam are included on the device - see my previous article here - even if it will probably be the case in the next version. However, except if you're really in a hurry to get Apple's tablet, i strongly suggest you to wait until the end of the year.

Why? Well, not only the IPad V2 will be better as it's always the case, but also because Microsoft is working on its on tablet concept, it's called "Courier" and it looks damn' good! Think about it as an "infinite diary" where you could collect any theme park pictures you'd like when you surf on the web, or even shoot pictures with it when you're at Disneyland (a camera will be included) and share them, etc... all this with an AMAZING user interface. If you use each day a diary or a Filofax AND need a mobile device to read your emails, go on internet, note ideas, take pictures on the go, read ebooks, etc...then Microsoft's Courier will be for you. It's going to revolutionize the diary concept, and boy do we need it! But if you're looking for a device to look movies or play video games, then the Apple IPad will be a better choice.

As you know, normally I'm a Mac addict, the kind of Mac addict who doesn't even want to hear the word "Microsoft"! But it seems that this time Microsoft has designed a product that I would be pleased to order! So, this "Courier" looks great and we have now more details about it. Courier will be under an inch thick, will weight a little over a pound, and will not much bigger than a 5x7 photo when closed. But as you may have already understood Microsoft tablet will open like a book with two screens inside, so i think we can say it's more a "booklet" than a "tablet".

And why Courier will have two screens, you ask? Well you'll understand in a minute on the videos why this dual screens is a great idea but here is more details from Engadget: "The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers. They're connected by a hinge that holds a single iPhone-esque home button. Statuses, like wireless signal and battery life, are displayed along the rim of one of the screens. On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre.

Two screens, a mashup of a pen-dominated interface with several types of multitouch finger gestures, and multiple graphically complex themes, modes and applications. (Our favorite UI bit? The hinge doubles as a "pocket" to hold items you want move from one page to another.) Microsoft's tablet heritage is digital ink-oriented, and this interface, while unlike anything we've seen before, clearly draws from that, its work with the Surface touch computer and even the Zune HD."

Frankly, if Microsoft succeed to create a "booklet" which works as shown on the videos below I predict a big success to this new device. So, the best is to have a look at the real thing - not totally "real", though, as what you will see on the videos is CGI animation, not the final product which is expected to be released this fall. Important note: these are new videos, not the one released last September, and they show new details on the amazing Courier UI. So, even if you've seen the previous videos, don't miss these new one! Let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Update April 30th, 2010: Microsoft announced today that "the Courier Tablet will not be produced". I can't believe that these guys can be so dumb. Microsoft, one of the biggest and richest company in the world can't succeed to produce such a promising tablet? God, they are really really bad...

Pictures and videos: copyright Microsoft, Engadget

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