Paper Notebook replacement

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JSRinUK

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I've jammed up a keyboard in my day, too. And unlike a Brit friend of mine, I don't come anywhere close to 10,000 words a day.
I'm fairly sure I didn't do that many on the old manual typewriter, so that's an advantage of technology turning that typewriter into a netbook. ;)
 

infinitespecter

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Has anyone seen the video for MS Courier?

If there's one actual notebook replacement I've seen, the Courier seems like it

The iPad will most likely be a device to read on and surf a little internet or maybe watch a video or two
I know I'm going to get savaged for saying this, but the Courier videos have completely killed any interest I had in the iPad. I'm saving my money for one (hopefully) this year. It's so much more what I am looking for (a digital replacement for a notebook). The iPad is more of a computer where the Courier is more of a journal.
 

JSRinUK

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I know I'm going to get savaged for saying this, but the Courier videos have completely killed any interest I had in the iPad. I'm saving my money for one (hopefully) this year. It's so much more what I am looking for (a digital replacement for a notebook). The iPad is more of a computer where the Courier is more of a journal.
I've watched the Courier video (or should that be "concept animation for vapourware"?) and I do admit that it looks like a great idea for project management.

It hasn't killed my interest in the iPad for one very clear reason - I can't see from the video how it will help me in my life today. It's too detached from my traditional ways of working. Maybe Microsoft is showing us computing of the future - the way it will be some five years down the line, or maybe not.

When I watched the iPad keynote, my interest increased with the iWork apps because I could immediately see how it would (i) enable me to edit my novels and (ii) enable me to create and edit my spreadsheets. No matter what else it is capable of, these things immediately give it a place in my life.

The Courier seems to be aimed at art students or project managers. Is that a big enough market to begin with? In the video, I see no movie playing, no games playing, no office productivity tools, just someone working on a project.

They seem to be suggesting that the Courier will have handwriting recognition but, given past history, how likely is it that handwriting recognition will be ready in 2010? Every time I've had a go at handwriting recognition on other devices, it's failed miserably and I go back to the keyboard.

Of course there are also the other unanswered questions - such as hardware specifications (the question being whether this is a true standalone mobile device or a device that requires constant internet connection for cloud-based project management?).

It's way too soon to see the Courier as the "must have gadget of the year" or the "iPad killer". The video shows that Microsoft have some promising ideas under consideration - not having an obvious Windows OS on it is a clear plus point - but I can't see it being a viable option for quite some time to come.

We'll all have had our iPads long before the Courier comes out and, probably, we'll have had them for three years and looking for a replacement before the Courier is ready to steal its thunder.

If nothing else, devices such as the iPad and the Courier indicate a clear course away from traditional desktop PCs with traditional keyboards. Will any of them take off in the way we envisage? It's exciting times. In the 80s it was a bizarre thought to even consider that everyone would have their own computer. Today, we're on the cusp of another wave - the abandoning of that very computer. Will it happen? I'm glad I'm here to find out.
 

sracer

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I know I'm going to get savaged for saying this, but the Courier videos have completely killed any interest I had in the iPad. I'm saving my money for one (hopefully) this year. It's so much more what I am looking for (a digital replacement for a notebook). The iPad is more of a computer where the Courier is more of a journal.
Considering Microsoft's track record in the consumer electronics market, I would need to see the Courier in stores with actual specs, pricing, and hands-on performance evaluation, before I would even consider it.
 

wyneken

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Considering Microsoft's track record in the consumer electronics market, I would need to see the Courier in stores with actual specs, pricing, and hands-on performance evaluation, before I would even consider it.
Truer words were never spoken. It may be revealing that when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer appeared on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, he didn't even mention the Courier, but instead made a big deal about the HP Slate.

In this eye-opening NY Times article, former MS exec Richard Brass provides an insider's look at a big organization that is divided into separate, competing teams working on rival projects without an overall guiding vision or direction. Brass recounts episodes in which promising technologies were squashed or allowed to languish because some rival team boss with huge corporate clout -- for example the leader of the Office team -- led a successful effort to downplay its significance and ridicule its developers.

It seems quite possible, given this insight into the inner workings at Redmond, that the Courier project, even if it's "real" in the sense of being focused on a viable and promising product, might also turn out to be "vaporware" in the sense that this product will never be produced, or will reach the market too late, or will never enjoy the full support of upper-level management.

A recent article in PC World puts it this way:

[F]or now, Courier doesn’t feel very tangible. The videos are animations that look like they were done in Flash; the screens don’t look real; even the photograph might be a mockup of some sort. Until Microsoft says something or more solid materials leak out, it’s tough to know what to think.
That's about as much as one can say for the moment, and it's hardly promising. I've got a student who reads Gizmodo faithfully and is breathlessly awaiting the advent of the Courier. I don't have the heart to tell her that she may be a grandmother before such a thing actually exists.
 

kornchild2002

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Microsoft and many other companies have been working on a Courier-type device for over 15 years now. The market definitely isn't new and there has been billions of dollars dumped into researching this area.

I know that an Apple tablet device has been the holy grail white unicorn of Apple fans ever since the Newton went under. The iPad definitely doesn't live up to fans' expectations. There isn't a single product that Apple could have come out with (even a 10" multi-touch tablet with a resolution of 1366X768, a quad-core 1.6GHz Intel i7 processor, a 1TB hard drive with 128GB of SSD, 8GB of RAM, and ATI HD 5870 graphics card with 1GB of RAM all while running the latest edition of Mac OS X and getting 15 hours of real world usage time including wi-fi browsing would not have pleased everyone).

The issue with Microsoft is that they rely on other companies for the hardware (much like Google). The first Zune was made by Toshiba and essentially their next generation player running Microsoft software, the Slate is being made by HP, etc. They really don't "make" much hardware aside from keyboards, mice, webcams, consoles, the Zune (I believe it is all MS now), and a cellphone or two. I am not talking about contracting the manufacturing of product out to China. I am talking about relying on another company (who is also going to outsource to China and various other companies) to make the hardware and then working with them to get the software up and going. I think Microsoft could do better if they started focusing on more hardware instead of relying on various different companies to make the products that they want.

So, until we get more information about the Courier (if it will ever come out), it will remain to be a mystery. It looks like it is running the Tegra 2 chip which appears to be the same thing as the A4 chip in the iPad (though people are now speculating that it is an overclocked ARM processor from the iPhone 3GS). Microsoft would have to release more information about it now including price in order for it to become competitive with what Apple is doing.
 

Mochan

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Personally, from my own experience with my iPod Touch, I could not agree that thumb typing is either fast or effective. Anything more than two lines in an email and I've had enough already. I'm forever correcting words it thinks I haven't spelt right, while the squinty little screen and tiny on-screen keyboard doesn't do anything to improve the situation.

On the other hand, I've been typing on QWERTY keyboards for the best part of 30 years. I haven't learned any particular "rules" of typing. People do find it amusing that, while in the middle of a long typing session, I often switch to one hand typing - either to drink from my coffee cup with the free hand or sift through my notes or whatever.

I suspect I'll find one hand typing on the iPad to be much more of a "fast and effective" method of data entry than thumb typing, particularly as I'll be able to swap between one and two-handed by just turning the iPad around.

Maybe the T9/SMS generation would prefer thumb typing, but I'm not one of them.
Guess it depends on the person. I can do one-hand typing but only at about 20wpm -- something you sometimes have to do when multitasking like when you need a coffee. :D I go 120wpm with 2 hands. With thump typing on a hard qwerty I can do about 30wpm. With the iPhone qwerty I can do about 40.
 

Mochan

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The issue with Microsoft is that they rely on other companies for the hardware (much like Google).

...
So, until we get more information about the Courier (if it will ever come out), it will remain to be a mystery. It looks like it is running the Tegra 2 chip which appears to be the same thing as the A4 chip in the iPad (though people are now speculating that it is an overclocked ARM processor from the iPhone 3GS). Microsoft would have to release more information about it now including price in order for it to become competitive with what Apple is doing.
Who makes the hardware doesn't really matter from a consumer perspective. The real issue is that the buzz generated by MS isn't even a fourth of the buzz Apple is generating with the iPad. That is what is going to decide things here. The iPad will blow away the tablet market, or rather break it open and make it a viable market.
 

kornchild2002

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Actually, hardware manufacturers affects the consumer department. Relying on yet another company (who has contracts with all sorts of other companies in China, India, Korea, etc.) only further delays the entire process of both software and hardware development. Aside from different contracting groups syncing together (I know how this pans out, I work for the U.S. government who insists on contracting nearly everything out for our projects), MS has to work with other companies to make sure that their software works with their hardware.

That is one benefit that Apple has always had over the competition: the hardware and software are designed in-house. It makes R & D along with initial production and testing a lot smoother when one main company organizes everything while relying on different contracted companies for manufacturing and production.

It also affects advertising. You now have at least two main companies who will contract their advertising out. One for the hardware (such as the Slate) and one for the features of the OS (multi-touch with Windows 7). Again, it is a lot easier and less time consuming when one company (such as Apple) contracts their advertising. They can then focus on what they want and create all the "buzz" needed for a certain product.

The Slate is a prime example of how this type of operating is hurting MS when compared to Apple. MS has to work closely with HP and rely on their schedule. It means that the Slate went from a possible Spring/Summer 2010 release to Fall of 2010 to Spring of 2011. Then MS brought it out on stage and that has been it. They both have to team up again (two different schedules for two different sects of technology) for further release schedules, hardware and software testing, contract things out for initial production models, complete more testing (both on the hardware and software), narrow a time for a release, work with a series of different outsourced companies for making the hardware and installing the software, and then work with different companies for advertising the hardware, the software, and the software running on that hardware.

It is all a lot more painful, longer, etc. than what Apple can do and it all affects the consumer perspective.
 

JSRinUK

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Guess it depends on the person. I can do one-hand typing but only at about 20wpm -- something you sometimes have to do when multitasking like when you need a coffee. :D I go 120wpm with 2 hands. With thump typing on a hard qwerty I can do about 30wpm. With the iPhone qwerty I can do about 40.
I don't think I go close to 120wpm and I've never checked my speed when typing one-handed. For me, speed is less important than the ability to keep up with my thought processes when constructing a scene or working out the details of the characters. I don't think at 120wpm when constructing scenes, so I don't type at 120wpm. I believe I get up to 90wpm when things are going really well, but much less when there's more thinking going on.

I do know that I certainly can't do 30wpm thumb-typing on my iPod Touch. I'd be lucky if I did 5-10 either because I hit the wrong key or the iPod Touch corrects a word incorrectly and I'm endlessly correcting its corrections. I quickly get tired of it, generally leading me to reach for my netbook instead. I know I can type much quicker on my netbook with one hand than I can on my iPod Touch with two thumbs.

If I'm still able to get an iPad (and the month delay makes that less likely), I'm interested to see how well I can cope with the on-screen keyboard - but I suspect any long-term typing will be with the use of a bluetooth external keyboard.
 
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