A second video and more details on Microsoft's Courier notebook-tablet project have arrived, again courtesy of Gizmodo's sources, and in spite of the shift toward finger-entry of text seen in smartphones over recent years, it looks as though Microsoft are pushing forward with pen-input. At Courier's heart is the "infinite journal", an ongoing - and thankfully searchable - document that can be used to collect together snippets of text, diagrams, webpages and more, and that integrates with a PIM and contacts system.
Video after the cut
Multitouch finger gestures are used to navigate between pages, move images and drag contacts and appointments around, but handwritten text is the name of the game for data entry. This fits in with Microsoft's OneNote app ethos, best known on Tablet PCs, which can automatically search handwriting without needing to convert it to text.
The journal can be published online, it seems, in either a native Courier format, as a PowerPoint presentation, or as a PDF. It seems likely that users will be able to pick out separate sections to share, rather than their whole journal. The hinge between the two panes is used to "store" snippets when moving them around.
It seems that rather than the entertainment focus Apple's upcoming tablet is expected to have, Microsoft are going for the data collection, manipulation and sharing side of mobile life. That's a different market, certainly, but not necessarily a bad thing. We're still definitely curious about Courier, and how often do we get to say that about Microsoft?