More Details About Microsoft Courier Emerge: Smaller Than Expected, Won’t Run Windows 7

On the heels of Apple announcing imminent availability of the iPad, someone at Microsoft, ahem, “leaked” more details about the Courier, Microsoft’s own tablet/e-Reader project. The dual-screen tablet, long rumored to be as much of a digital journal as an e-Reader, has a smaller-than-expected size and, contrary to speculation, will not run Windows 7.

The Courier, said to measure less than an inch thick, will have dimensions similar to a 5 x 7 photo when closed. New details also suggest that the Courier will run on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform, and that its OS will be the same one found on the Zune HD.

As we’ve heard, the Courier will be pen-based, with an emphasis on writing and drawing.

Leaked screenshots show a consistent visual theme: a Zune-like interface on the left-hand side, including functionality such as contacts and calendaring, with plenty of space on the right screen to scribble related notes– say, a to do list alongside your calendar for the day.

However, there will also be an eBook ecosystem that would allow users to use it as an e-Reader (no word yet on publisher agreements, much less an eBook store). Like the iPad, it will attempt to appeal to multimedia junkies as well; so far, we know it will have a webcam and a headphone jack for music playback. We’ll be curious to see if or how it supports videos and games.

According to Engadget, the Courier will launch in either the third or fourth quarter of this year, with no word on pricing. Color us curious.

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