Microsoft Courier details are revealed

Microsoft has released some details about its Courier, the e-book, two sided tablet that it reckons will out sell a certain fruit-based gadget maker’s iPad.

Videos of the Courier were first shown on gadget site Engadget, and show the Courier opening, like a book, with both screens responding to touch. It appears to be roughly an inch thick and about 5 x 7 inches. This makes it a lot smaller than previous rumours had it, although practically a lot more portable.

Unlike the iPad, the leaked pictures of the Courier seem to have a camera and can recognize handwriting on its screen.

Overall the device has been extremely well met by the tech crowd online, a stark contrast to the disappointment voiced when the iPad was revealed. There is even some speculation that Microsoft has specifically chosen this time to reveal its tablet to detract from Apple’s gizmo.

Interestingly the Courier is said to be running on the Tegra 2 chip series* found on the Zune HD and Windows Mobile 7 Series rather than the expected Windows 7. However the videos are cartoonish and are clearly meant as a concept video without revealing any of the actual device.

Microsoft is said to be aiming for a release date in the second half of 2010, although some are saying that it will be in early 2011. Perhaps Microsoft is going to see how well the HP tablet, that Steve Ballmer showed off at CES, fairs, before unleashing the Courier.

Pricing is unknown, but there have been hints from Microsoft that it may be one of its more affordable pieces.

“You can’t be high-priced,” Ballmer told a group of analysts at Microsoft’s annual Financial Analyst Meeting back in June 2009. “That doesn’t get us to the high volume that we aspire to.”

Microsoft has not yet offered an official comment on the pictures and videos.

* Corrected from OS, sorry. Ed.