Microsoft Courier lives on in Windows 8 app "Project Austin"

Many people were excited for Microsoft Courier, a dual-screen tablet aimed at creative types, but unfortunately Microsoft pulled the plug before the project could ever see the light . Courier lives on, however, in a new Windows 8 note app created by a group of developers from Microsoft's Visual C++ team. The app has been codenamed Project Austin, and it allows you do a variety of things when it comes to creating digital notes.

For instance, you can add, delete, or move around the pages in your notebook, and use digital ink to jot down notes or draw nice little pictures on those pages. You can also add photos to your notebook pages, whether those images are coming from your hard drive, the cloud, or straight from your computer's camera. The dev team says that Project Austin will also be compatible with other Windows 8 apps, naming e-mail and SkyDrive specifically, meaning that you can send your notes to those apps once you've finished them.

Microsoft dev Jorge Pereira says in a recent post on the Visual C++ Blog that "much of the inspiration and code for the Austin app" is drawn from Courier, so perhaps we can consider this to be something of a spiritual successor to the canned project. However, there are other reasons this group of developers created Project Austin, with Pereira saying that the team wanted to show what C++ can do when coupled with Windows 8. "First, we wanted to build a fully functional real-world app that's actually useful and high quality," Pereira wrote. "Second, we wanted to demonstrate the power of C++ and the Window 8 platform, and showcase some of the new technologies delivered by our team in Visual Studio 2012, such as C++ AMP and automatic code vectorization."

Project Austin will be available soon (Windows 8 isn't out until October 26, remember), and Pereira goes into much more depth about the app's history and its development in the write-up on the Visual C++ Blog. This post is the first of a planned six that delves into Project Austin's development, so expect to hear more about it soon. Eager developers can get an early peek at the app now, however, as the development team has made most of the source code available. If you've got a few minutes to spare (it is Saturday after all), be sure to read through the entire post on Project Austin – it makes for a very fascinating and exciting read.