Saturday, November 14, 2009

Microsoft Courier

I have been watching the demo videos for the Microsoft Courier and reading the opening thoughts about the device for a few weeks now and have come to the conclusion that I do want this damn thing. As a early adopter of tablets, and a believer in the power of digital handwritten text to change the way that I interact with the world this could be huge for me. Toys like Evernote and Onenote on a Tablet push the idea of digital note taking, but because they are designed for keyboard and mouse to be the primary interface both still fall short of creating an experience that is complete. The flaws around the edges show, and it becomes frustrating. If the consumer electronic space has taught us anything it is that people don't want to deal with the edge cases where you move from one type of usage to another and have to fiddle with some setting to make it work.

The need for seamless transition from browsing to note taking to drawing and back again will make or break this product for the intended users, so while the demo makes it look like the process is very smooth I will reserve judgment until the product is in the wild. The demo video, and media Gizmodo presented makes it look like the user experience for the single user that was portrayed was well scripted out, but I would like to see how they think someone is going to take a picture with that camera on the back.... I don't believe that anyone will use it in that manner based on the images because it will be extremely awkward, so the camera might make more sense as a front facing or swivel camera for video conferencing and eye tracking applications. Another usage question I have is how does one use this while walking, the folded in half layout that would traditionally make sense for a notebook might have interesting implications given this is a touch screen we are talking about. I imagine that the use of accelerometers and magnets could be used to determine which position the machine is in to change which screen is active and accepting touches. Rough edges like that would need to be ironed out before the product goes to market

The form factor looks to be very attractive as long as the size is not too large, and the weight would have a huge impact on where people want to take this device. The screens will need to be OLED to keep the power draw low enough for whole day usage, and I think that inductive charging for this device is a must. I realize that inductive charging isn't ubiquitous and still needs work, but without the ability to drop this on my desk and have it charge in between meetings, or overnight the battery capacity will have to be amazing.

Random bonus link on OLED and E Ink.

Via Gizmodo

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