And now the Tablet – The battle continues

Its competition that eventually makes a product good or bad. I say that with a sense of a consumer. As long as there is someone who is willing to challenge you with a great product and an attractive price package to match it, you will have great innovations and even better products to play with. The beginning of such battles were seen with the browser wars of the early 90’s down to the PC and computers race and mobile platforms. The latest entrant into the warzone is the tablet. I would have said tablet PC but that is a bit of a failure as such. Touch sensitive tablets who have the ability of connect to the internet, have larger screens than your traditional phones but lighter and more agile than a standard laptop, are features that the tablets offer to us, encouraging us to look at this new ‘screen’ among the others that take away our time like the TV, computer, Mobile, Gaming Device and Movies. I believe that the launch of apple’s tablet might have just sparked off one of the biggest tablet race yet.

Tablets are not new and have been around for a while, but the touch sensitive tablets with good processing power and a host of great features has been missed by all. The ‘iPad’ might be a device that is aimed at the normal person on the street, but with no multi tasking, no camera and other small features that could have made it better; has indicated that the tablet business will not get ‘swept over’ by Apple. So the next straight question would be, if not the tablet then what will. It is hard to tell, but if I were to put my money on it, I would point to the Microsoft Courier. It is not usually the case, where I point to a Microsoft product as a game changer or actually something that can make normal geeks go wow. But it is clear with an initial look at this device that it will take on the best, and might even make it as the favorite of many. Featuring a dual screen with a typical organizer type look and feel this tablet and some of the features that it packs might just revolutionalise how we interact with the digital world around us, more so enabling Microsoft to reach heights that others can only dream of. Their foray into the world of PC’s is legendary, Mobiles not so good. But this could definitely bring them to our palms soon enough. Gadget blog Gizmodo has uncovered a set of illustrations that make it clearer how you would operate the device, and what its mains functions would be. On paper, Courier looks like it would be an innovative device, with some killer features.

Based on what has already been reported, the rumored Courier tablet would have two 7-inch color screens, with a flexible hinge in the middle allowing the device to close like a book. The hinge would also have a home button, as well as indicators for wireless signal and battery strength. The two screens can accept handwriting from a stylus or multi-touch inputs from your fingers. Courier would not have any type of keyboard, and rely entirely on handwriting recognition for text input. Courier would also include Wi-Fi connectivity, and a camera on the back of the device. There’s no word on whether Courier would include extras like a Webcam for video conferencing or 3G connectivity. At the core of Courier’s functionality would be the Infinite Journal, which is exactly what it sounds like: limitless virtual pages where you can take notes, sketch, and store Web clippings. Gizmodo says the Infinite Journal would have page numbers for easier reference, and every page receives a timestamp and a location tag once content has been entered. It’s not clear whether the Infinite Journal’s location tag would come from automatic geotagging through GPS or wireless access points, or whether it’s just a matter of manually entering your location for each page. You can also mark Infinite Journal pages with keyword tags to make it easier to search for content. The Smart Agenda would essentially be a condensed version of your Infinite Journal pulling together day-to-day information for easy reference including e-mails, to-do lists, appointments, and recent messages. Clicking on any of these items in the Smart Agenda would take you to the page where these items are stored in your Infinite Journal.

Microsoft is all about the cloud these days, with company executives constantly referring to Microsoft’s three-screen vision (personal computer, mobile device, and television all syncing or pulling information from an online database). Courier is no exception, as it offers a function that allows you to share portions of your journal with colleagues and friends online. When your content appears online, the people you share your journal with will be able to make notes and comments about your content. Once the comments have been entered, they are automatically updated on your Courier device so you can see what your collaborators are saying. One of the most interesting functions of Courier is its ability to clip content from a Web site and allow you to store and manipulate that information any way you like. Called Clip, Tuck, and Paste, with this function you would be able to clip information from a Web page, and then ‘tuck’ it underneath Courier’s hinge between the two screens. Then, you can flip or search through your Infinite Journal until you find the page you want to store the content in, and then paste the Web clipping into your journal. According to the illustrations, there’s a lot more to the Courier, including a Web browser, camera, a file browser called the Library for a quick look at all your stored information, easy-to-use painting tools and more. These new details about Courier make it sound like a fascinating and innovative device. However, we also don’t know some basic things about Courier like how it would handle Web-based video or what kind of storage this device would have. I should also point out that so far we’ve only seen illustrations, and computer-generated videos of Courier in action. Hope we see a real working device of this and that would be something that I would buy, for the time being I would suggest to give the iPad a pass.

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