Just days after rumours
spread that Microsoft's innovative dual-screen Courier device could hit shop shelves by early next year, the company has dashed all hopes by officially scrapping the concept.
According to a report over on Gizmodo
, the team working on the concept device at Microsoft were informed by executives on Wednesday that the project was being scrapped immediately - despite rumours that a fully-working prototype was almost complete.
The news was confirmed by Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of communication, who told Gizmodo's Joel Johnson that the Courier design "will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.
The news - coming so soon after credible rumours suggested that the device would be ready for release some time next year - will come as a blow to people looking for the next big thing in the portable marketplace: with its dual touch-screen displays and rugged clamshell design, many saw the Courier as the obvious extension of the increasingly popular slate form factor and the perfect device to drive adoption of digital newspapers and magazines, featuring as it did a dual-page layout just like the dead tree versions.
Sadly, it appears that Microsoft is going to allow someone else to take the lead on this one - that is, if anyone feels like competing with Apple's popular iPad with a whole new form factor rather than a me-too offering.
Are you disappointed that the Courier is now almost certainly gone for good, or are you still hoping that someone will pick up Microsoft's dropped baton and bring a dual-screen Courier-esque device to market? Share your thoughts over in the forums