videos leaked from Microsoft showed a book-like device with two touch screens and a stylus. The user is seen researching, creating and designing content in a manner that looks both intuitive and innovative. Called Courier, the product doesn't (yet) exist beyond the conceptual videos, but it shows Microsoft is thinking in some new ways. Ross Rubin discussed Courier's role for creative professionals last week but I think there's even more at stake here -- I think the concept shows computing models are evolving. Here's what Courier represents to the market:
The pen isn't dead. The pen's been searching for a place in computing for more than a decade. We've seen experiments in all different types of pen computing from the PC to the PDA and the phone. They've all pretty much failed, and today's hot commodity is capacitive touch. Microsoft's Courier video shows how the pen can play a prominent role in the evolution of computing interfaces. While fingers are great for many things, there are tasks better served by the ability to manipulate at the pixel level. Handwriting and the ability to take written notes is one of them. Content creation and painting is another. It's clear Microsoft knows all this -- in addition to Courier, there's the Deskterity project that melds pen and touch on Surface.