Early yesterday, Gizmodo published what purports to be a more polished mockup video of how Microsoft’s newly rumored Courier notebook/tablet (or whatever you wanna call it) will function. Reading many of the comments at various tech sites, the masses all seem to be shouting in unison, “I WANT ONE!” Not one to ever kill a party, I have to pull a 180 and ask if anyone else was as unimpressed with Microsoft’s Courier tablet as I was? Take a look at the video below.
Now this mockup video is unquestionably cool and interesting, if not downright futuristic, but it leaves me with a lot more questions than answers.
First, the end result of the multi-touch gestures look pretty nice, but actually using them seems a tad confusing, if not downright inconsistent. Take browsing the web, for example. The examples shown in the video above show no navigation scheme for traversing through websites. Specifically, the demo shows a user going to a Nike Air Force 1 website (1:58 into the video), and all of the pertinent photos just happen to show up on the mainpage. Even putting aside that bit of make believe for a second, the demo then shows a user grabbing a photo of a specific shoe needed for a presentation. But what if the desired shoe isn’t a stand alone image, what if it’s part of a larger picture? Can a user employ multi-touch to then select the desired portion of the page? A similar scenario involving convenient, if not impossible, selecting occurs at the 1:34 mark.
Also, what’s up with the data input, or lack thereof? Call me crazy, but an inkless pen is annoying, and while it may be sufficient for inputting terse notes and simple URL’s, such as AF1.com, it’s completely useless for any significant and in-depth type of note taking. Now that wouldn’t be a problem if there was some form of virtual keyboard, but alas, there doesn’t seem to be one.
Next, the demo notes that users can choose to “publish their journal”, instantly making it downloadable for their friends or for anyone who’s interested. Now call me cynical if you must, but who exactly will be downloading a journal which, from the video above, will consist solely of web clippings alongside some notes written with an inkless pen? Can someone come up with a real world example where I would actually be interested in downloading someone else’s journal?
All in all, I find the above video unimpressive because I fail to see any practical use for such a device. Web surfing looks like its crippled, data selection seems confusing, data entry seems annoying and impractical, and taken together, that makes for a pretty crappy notebook/journal, now matter how cool and futuristic it might appear to be at first glance. And by the way, Gizmodo correctly points out that there’s basically nothing about viewing content like movies, books, and newspapers – a few things you just might want to do on a portable electronic device.
And one last parting shot – Microsoft’s Courier notebook appears to fold up like a book, in which case, is it that much more advantageous than an actual laptop computer? Does it bring to the table any added functionality, ease of use, or portability not currently found in products already on the market today? Sure doesn’t seem like it.
Anyone else out there share those sentiments? Am I off-base? A clueless Microsoft basher, perhaps? Chime in below in the comments and let it all out.
And lest this comes off as a Macboy rant, I share similar sentiments about Apple’s rumored tablet, which based on the current rumors making the rounds, seems like a decent device, but not mindblowing enough to justify the rumored ~$800 pricetag.