iPad killers killed: HP slashes Slate, MS cans Courier

It seems like HP has killed the Windows 7 Slate project and Microsoft its dual-screen Courier tablet. Two iPad-related rumor tidbits: perhaps they're related, or maybe it's a coincidence they emerged on the same day? In IT Blogwatch, bloggers ponder serendipitous significance.

By Richi Jennings. April 30, 2010.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Belgian healthcare...

    Joel Johnson's been speaking to "sources":

Microsoft has cancelled Courier, the folding, two-screen prototype tablet ... [that] had never been publicly announced or acknowledged as a Microsoft product.


It is a pity. Courier was one of the most innovative concepts out of Redmond. ... We loved ... the interface and the thinking behind it. ... Hopefully some of the smart thinking we have seen in Courier will find its way into Microsoft's tablets, whether they're powered by Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7.

As has Michael Arrington:

HP is not satisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet operating system and has terminated ... its much ballyhooed Windows 7 tablet computer ["HP Slate"]. ... HP may also be abandoning Intel-based hardware ... because it’s too power hungry. That would also rule out Windows 7.


Look for Google-powered devices ... and the Palm WebOS.

Nick Farrell inquires, but gets no explanation:

The dual-screen Courier tablet was one of the more intriguing ideas to come from the company in the past decade. ... Technology from the Courier project could be used in future products, but [Microsoft said] there's [not] much of a chance we'll see the innovative dual-screen setup in any of those.


It is not clear what Microsoft is thinking. It appears to be surrendering the ground to Apple. Either it thinks that the Ipad will die ... or it just can't be [bothered]. ... It is unlike Microsoft to burn its bridges in this way. ... [It's a] puzzling retreat.

Nick Mediati recalls CES:

HP's Slate tablet made its debut ... during Steve Ballmer's keynote at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. ... the timing of this news coincides with HP's announcement that it has bought Palm. This is leading some to speculate whether HP is instead working on a ... WebOS ... tablet.


Mouse-driven interfaces ... aren't well suited for touch. Meanwhile, WebOS is designed from the ground up with touch in mind. If this story is true, it looks like HP's engineers feel the same way.

Oddly, Harry McCracken finds it "extremely hard to believe" yet at the same time sounds unsurprised:

It was obvious from the get-go that Win 7 as it stands really doesn’t make much sense for a slate. ... And there’s been no evidence to date that Microsoft is interested in doing the necessary work to make Windows a good touch-centric product.


At CES, [Microsoft] didn’t seem that interested in Windows on slate devices. ... Most of the enthusiasm so far seems to have come from HP. ... Could it have been so giddy over the idea that it had to build one before it figured out that the idea didn’t make a lot of sense?

But wait; Robert Evans smells a rat:

The loss of [Courier] is not exceptional...but what if all is not as it seems? ... Back in October [we] received word from a trusted inside source that Microsoft's ... Kin was “dead in the water” ... in shambles ... basically already dead ... most of the team fired, unusable and buggy. ... In reality, of course, things were fine.


It's possible that the same thing has happened to Courier. ... I wouldn't be surprised to see a dual-screen tablet with ... a few familiar features pop up in the next year or so. ... Microsoft would be fools to ignore what developing the Courier ... has taught them about tablet PCs.

And Finally...

How healthcare works in Belgium?

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and a disclosure of his industry affiliations, which includes his holding of HP stock.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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