Microsoft’s project to create a dual-screen tablet computer has been officially canceled. The company gave no reasons for this but, according to a recent unconfirmed report, the project had run into problems with battery life and focus.
Microsoft Corporate VP of Communications Frank Shaw told Gizmodo:
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.
A Dual-Screen Design
The basic design of the Courier tablet was for a device with two screens capable of folding like a book. It would have had the same operating system core as Windows Phone 7 and the Zune HD, but with a different user interface.
Although details and videos that leaked out set some potential customers drooling, Microsoft supposedly was having trouble deciding who the target market for the Courier would be. The original plan from last year had been to make a digital organizer for creative work, but more recently, engineers were planning to re-write the software to make it a general-purpose computer and e-book reader.
In addition, hardware designers were allegedly having problems giving a device that mostly screen a reasonable battery life.
A New Competitive Climate
When first unofficial word of the Microsoft Courier surfaced last fall, the market for tablet computers was basically flat. Half a year later, it seems virtually every computer company is working on one.
This may have played a factor in Microsoft’s decision to not enter a market that is quickly becoming very crowded.