I write about gadgets for a living. Since I'm a gadget nerd myself, that often means getting a bit excited about some of the cooler rumors, leaks, and product launches. I try to stay even handed and look at every side of any issue, but sometimes careful journalism like that is very difficult. Take the Microsoft Courier, a dual-screened tablet PC/electronic journal/e-reader. When news of it first leaked, it looked interesting. When a video of the UI leaked, it bumped up from 'interesting' to 'the #1 gadget I would commit unspeakable crimes in order to have right now'.
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Today, the saga of the Courier gets a little bit deeper. Our friends at Gizmodo, who seem to have a source from inside Microsoft feeding them goodies, have produced scans of a document that explains in detail how the Courier works. Needless to say, this is going to be one incredibly hot gadget.
-One finger tap will hold and clip onto content, one flick vertically will scroll and horizontally will advance pages. One swipe up will open an app, and one swipe offscreen kills it. You'll flick across the page with two fingers to slide across the page or pinch to zoom.
-There will be a 'Smart Agenda' that should act as the homescreen for your Infinite Journal. It'll summarize your journal info, emails, calendar data, and more.
-You will be able to customize the cover of your journal.
-Search via handwriting recognition is expected to be included.
-Your Infinite Journal won't be limited to your Courier. You'll be able to access, view, and edit it from any browser. Friends and collaborators will be able to comment on public sections of your journal, and you'll be informed of such comments in the Smart Agenda.
-Once again, it's been confirmed that you'll be able to 'tuck' images and the like in the spine of your Courier in order to move it from place to place.
-The Courier pen will have a 'twisting mechanism' to switch modes and a top-mounted undo button that acts as an eraser.
-Sketch mode will give you a huge color palette, and the ability to switch between modes by pressing a quick-select button.
-The camera will have a viewfinder to let you crop and set up your photos before you take them.
-The Library has a 'books and subscriptions' section. Confirmation that the Courier is also an E-Reader? Probably.
Every piece of new info we get about the Courier makes it sound even more exciting. This is the first, and so far only truly unique idea for a tablet PC I've yet seen. Rather than being a giant MID or laptop without a physical keyboard, the Courier seems to be a distinctly seperate sort of gadget. I can imagine all manner of uses for it.
Artists, writers, grad students doing research...the possibilities go on and on. No information has been released about the price or anticipated release date, but if you ask me it can't possibly come soon enough. Microsoft; stop teasing us with eye-candy and ship this sweet piece of tablet out!
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A part of me thinks something this cool must be an elaborate hoax. An inspired, useful, and truly original device coming from Microsoft? It was bound to happen eventually, but I'm still just the teensiest bit suspicious.