Microsoft confirms, kills Courier in one fell swoop

Well this is depressing. Word has just gone fluttering out of Redmond that work on the Courier project -- a heretofore rumored dual-screen tablet which rightfully set the tech world ablaze -- has been spun down by the company. Here's the official line from Frank Shaw, Microsoft's VP of corporate communications:

At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It's in Microsoft's DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The "Courier" project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

All very sad, of course. So how did we get here? And was this thing ever really real to begin with? After all, it's hard to kill something that never lived. Well here's the deal, according to a source familiar with the situation: the Courier did indeed start life as a potential new product category for the company, one which was being incubated internally with very real plans for a marketable device. It seems, however, that things just didn't manage to take shape, and word was handed down very recently that the incubation period had reached its conclusion -- sans product -- and resources would be directed elsewhere. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't see some of this technology turn up in other products which Microsoft has in the pipeline (the company does keep quite a few balls in the air), but it does mean that those rendered videos of the Courier in action will remain, unfortunately, renders. As far as the Engadget team is concerned, there isn't a dry eye in the house right now -- but the Courier will always remain in our hearts as one of the finest unicorns that ever unicorned across our screens.