Microsoft's Courier: an iTablet killer?

It looks like the iTablet is going to have some competition from Apple's rivals at Microsoft. Yesterday Gizmodo broke a story about the Microsoft Courier, a dual screen tablet-like device that Gizmodo says is in the "late prototype" stage of development. The Courier's two screen are joined by a hinge so it opens and closes like a book. Both screens are touch sensitive, using either a stylus or via finger (with multitouch support for the latter). The device has a camera on the 'cover' (that is, facing away from the user).

Apparently the Courier is coming out of J Allard's group at Microsoft. Allard previously managed technical development of the Xbox and the Zune. CNET says that the Courier is only one of several 'skunkworks' hardware projects that Microsoft has underway.

While we haven't seen any details on the iTablet, it's safe to assume that Apple will produce a device with a fairly simple, clean interface. The Courier looks a lot more complex; there's a lot going on here, between having two screens that appear capable of running different tasks, flicking items between the screens and two input methods.

Gizmodo says it'll have more details on the Courier later this week.

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