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Microsoft reportedly working on Courier-like device for taking digital notes

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Microsoft’s Courier concept

Microsoft’s Courier hardware was a mysterious device that never made it to consumers, but left a big impression on fans who saw the leaked concept videos. Designed as a digital journal, the Microsoft Courier combined two screens to fold over like a book, with a stylus for taking notes. Microsoft appears to be working on a similar device that will fold over like a book and have an emphasis on digital ink. Windows Central reports that the Courier-like hardware could be released as early as next year.

Microsoft has been busy working on adapting its Windows 10 software to work on ARM-based processors, and the first ARM-powered Windows 10 devices will appear in December in the form of laptops. Windows Central reports that Microsoft’s notepad device, currently codenamed Andromeda, will also run on an ARM chipset. Windows Central doesn’t offer up any potential specifications for the Courier-like device, but it’s clear Microsoft will focus on universal Windows apps like OneNote and Edge primarily. This type of device could also run traditional desktop apps, thanks to Windows 10’s upcoming emulation software.

Microsoft is also reportedly working on a dedicated notebook app for the device, that is said to mimic writing like a real notebook. Any software will have to ensure this feels like a dedicated note-taking device, rather than a miniature Windows PC. Microsoft has tried many times over the years to adapt Windows for new devices like the Surface RT or ultra-mobile PCs, but the software has often been lacking.

While Microsoft’s mobile efforts are largely over with Windows 10 Mobile, this could be the company’s opportunity to create a new type of device. Lenovo tried with its own book-like device, but a Microsoft effort could tightly integrate software and hardware. I’ve heard from multiple sources at Microsoft that the company is eager to return to the mobile device world with unique hardware. Microsoft has previously toyed with the idea of a notepad-like Surface device. Surface chief, Panos Panay, confirmed the existence of a Surface Mini exactly two years ago today, describing the canceled device as “awesome” and “like a Moleskine.”

Microsoft has also previously patented a foldable phone that turns into a tablet. It’s not clear if this patent is related to the company’s notepad device, but the software maker previously submitted an all-in-one PC patent that turned out to look exactly like the Surface Studio. Either way, if Microsoft progresses with this hardware then expect to see it sooner rather than later.