Microsoft’s Courier Has No Chance

We’re told Courier will function as a “digital journal,” and it’s designed to be seriously portable: it’s under an inch thick, weighs a little over a pound, and isn’t much bigger than a 5×7 photo when closed.

It doesn’t matter, this thing has “fail” written all over it.

Let’s forget the obvious for now, that this device will have no broad support system, accessories, or apps. And let’s also forget that when Microsoft says Q3 or Q4, what they really mean is next year, and that’s too late.

No, let’s pretend everything above is overcome. This thing is still a failure. A stylus? in an era when we’ve learned the last few years how much people hate using these things, and how impractical they are? Handwriting recognition? For a generation of users that don’t write cursive? In fact, barely write on anything other than a keyboard at all?

This is Microsoft’s latest foray into something that clings to Bill Gates’ alleged “vision” of tablet computing a decade ago. He envisioned styli and handwriting then, and Microsoft is slogging through with that failed dream even now. Microsoft is clueless. This. Will. Fail.

9 thoughts on “Microsoft’s Courier Has No Chance

  1. I would by this today if I could. No more printing .pdf’s and .doc’s so I can make notes in the margins, and therefore no more keeping track of printouts in “real” folders. No more carrying my laptop to every meeting. I can FINALLY operate 100% on my comp & the cloud as I’ve wanted forever. The stylus support is exactly what I need for this to be a reasonable digital Moleskin + Trapper Keeper replacement with internet connectivity that I see it being. Already being an iPhone user, the media uses are irrelevant, and I wouldn’t use it for a main computing platform.You say these ideas “failed” 10 years ago but I had a Palm Pilot then and loved it despite its limitations. I saw its potential and this is another fulfillment of what I predicted then (as were the iPad & iPhone, though my ideas were much more primitive LOL). PDA’s were widely popular in the pre-smartphone era and I can see the combination of a smart phone and Courier being great (give me tethering between them and I’ll be overjoyed).

  2. Tom,I think it’s fair to say that the Courier will be ‘slightly’ more advanced than 10 year old technology. Maybe the reason these ideas failed a decade ago was because the technology could not unleash their potential? Where were the iTouch devices 10 years ago?And for those focussing on the fact the Courier uses a stylus; the Courier also employs a touchscreen too. You only need use the stylus for handwriting and other types of manipulation. I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t also include a touchscreen keyboard, just in case you lose the stylus.I don’t see why you have to choose one device over another? I still see each as completely different, aimed at very different markets. The iPad is more casual/general use and the Courier is very specific.

  3. Michele, The Courier will probably not be good enough to even be a toy. It’s based on ideas from a decade ago that have failed the last 10 years.

  4. DB I Could not agree with you more. The ipad is a toy the Courier will be for those of us who need to get work done and not play games or make stupid “social updates” I can not tell you how many notebooks I have in my office that I keep and reference back to quite frequently. I also detest trying to use some stupid touch screen to take notes in meetings I feel it is very distracting to me and those around me. Give me a good old fashion pen/stylus any day so I can write my notes. The Courier is the only device I have seen that is just like my traditional pen and paper notebook that I can not live without right now. Let the kids have the toys and the adults that still know how to write (full words!! not text speak) have the real “work ready” devices.The Courier will not fail the work force!!!

  5. I think the Courier looks great. I can’t wait for it to be released. If the handwriting recognition works well enough, then I could potentially ditch my (paper) logbooks at work. Hopefully this should sync/integrate with a workstation as well.Instead of keeping digital files only on my PC and hand-writing lots of notes from meetings/tests/experiments etc. in my logbook, I will hopefully be able to combine everything and keep it all in one portable place. Unlike a paper logbook, it shouldn’t run out of pages and then get put on a shelf for storage. It has huge potential, I just don’t think you see it from your point of view.To me the Courier and iPad are completely different devices. At the moment I struggle to see the iPad being something that could help me at work like I do the Courier (time will tell). The iPad could be useful at home though, but I’m waiting for a tablet/slate device to emerge that will fully run websites ie. with flash.You make think the Courier has FAIL written all over it, but I can really envision it taking off in the workplace…

  6. Courier will be DOA. And I mean that in a good way.

  7. This demo, created in cartoon form, is so vaporware that I’m not sure MS could ever be taken seriously. Besides, like you said, the whole stylus thing is so 1990s. Seriously? A stylus? The iPad will rule this market because once again Apple thinks out the little details and they fine tune the way the user interacts with the device. MS half-heartedly does this therefore they come to market late and with crappy devices. Yes, this has giant FAIL written all over it. MS is late, they are me-too, and they don’t have near the eco-system Apple has built-in with iTunes (App Store and iTMS). Why does MS even try?

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