(PhysOrg.com) -- Microsoft has been secretly developing a prototype booklet-shaped tablet PC called the Courier, according to an exclusive report in the gadget blog "Gizmodo".
The device will have two hinged screens with a user interface operated by the fingers (flicking open, dragging items, turning pages, and so on) and a stylus for writing. A Home page button is at the base of the hinged section, which is similar to the iPhone idea. The back cover of the Courier incorporates a camera operated by touching a camera icon on one screen.
A video below shows what appears to be an artist's rendition of the digital notebook in action. The video is focused on business users and shows how the device combines applications such as an address book and map, journal with day planner, calendars and photographs. Wireless Internet access is fully incorporated in the design.
The status of the battery and wireless signal are expected to be displayed on one of the two screens, but it is not yet known if the device will include a microphone and webcam for video conferences, or how the batteries will be recharged.
According to Gizmodo, the development of the prototype has been kept secret, with the project team, led by J. Allard, even being located away from Microsoft's major research site at Redmond, Washington. Allard is head of user experience and technology at the Entertainment and Devices division at Microsoft, and previously worked on Xbox and Zune.
It is not known when, or even if, the device will be released, and it is also unclear if the "leak" to Gizmodo was sanctioned by Microsoft. There is, however, no indication the Courier will be unveiled at the January 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which would be expected if its release was likely to be within the next year. The Courier is also said to be just one of several tablet PC ideas Microsoft is developing.
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