Microsoft’s currently mythical tablet computer, Courier, has been only seen in promotional (animated) videos and has impressed a lot of technology enthusiasts.
There was a research project called Codex that showed an early prototype of the Courier, a book like foldable touch screen device with a pen. More than the hardware it is the software UI that looks great and what would make the device worth buying. In two separate research projects, we’re seeing what might be the software behind Courier.
Long Zheng spotted a research project called Manual Deskterity, the video of the project shows human touch and pen working together on Microsoft Surface as input and allow you to use a computer more naturally.
The second project that shows pen and touch working together to provide a more natural user interface is Project Gustav. At MIX10 Project Gustav was demonstrated as a digital canvas for painters where the pen was used as a brush and the touch could be used for natural gestures like erasing the paint. Video:
The pen and touch input is what will be the differentiating factor for the Courier, while Apple and other competitors offer only touch, Notion Ink’s Adam has both touch and trackpad. The use of a pen would be a lot more natural for writing and other operations.