Microsoft Reportedly Developing Folding Surface Tablet Reviving Famed Courier Concept

microsoft courier concept
Before Apple's iPad first burst onto the tablet scene in 2010, a leaked Microsoft concept generated a lot of buzz in the enthusiast community. Called Courier (pictured above), the tablet featured dual displays attached to a folding hinge, along with touch and pen input. However, Microsoft never went forward with the proposal.

More recently, we've seen Microsoft patent filings that outline a Courier-style device with dual display and central hinge, but a new report suggests that such a device could be released within the next year. Windows Central reports that the hardware device is code named Andromeda and it sounds like the spiritual successor to the original Courier concept.

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Andromeda would reportedly run on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, meaning that it will support the latest flavor of Windows 10 with native support for ARM processors. The device will also have a built-in cellular modem for internet connectivity on-the-go.

Andromeda will primarily be marketed as a note-taking device, and will greatly leverage a superior inking experience compared to other mobile devices on the market. This could make it a popular choice for the education and enterprise sectors -- if the price is right.

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Images of a folding tablet-like device found in Microsoft patent filings

"The device puts pen and inking at the very forefront of its experience, with some prototypes opening up into a notebook app that's tied to OneNote, with support for your usual inking options via Windows Ink," writes Windows Central. "The notebook app itself is designed in a way that mimics writing in a real notebook, with virtual pages that spread across the foldable device."

It's highly like that Andromeda will be released under the Surface brand -- if it actually receives the green light for production. Microsoft in recent weeks has staunchly supported its Surface hardware family and Surface Chief Panos Panay shot down rumors that the company is abandoning its hardware efforts. Microsoft made that point very clear with the announcement of the Surface Book 2 family, which is now available in two screen sizes.