Microsoft may be reviving one of its original tablet projects.
The company is working on a new foldable tablet device that’s designed for note-taking, according to a new report in Windows Central. Details are still scarce but the current description sounds like a weird mashup between a smartphone and an old-school PDA.
The blog describes the device as “similar” to Microsoft’s ill-fated Courier tablet, a Windows-based tablet that Microsoft killed nearly a decade ago. Now though, it seems like Microsoft is — for some reason — willing to give the concept a second look.
Here’s how Windows Central describes the “digital pocket notebook” device, which is currently still a prototype:
a foldable tablet that runs Windows 10… designed to be pocketable when folded, kind of like a phone… it also has telephony capabilities, meaning you could replace your actual smartphone with it and still be able to take calls and texts
Despite the smartphone comparison, the report emphasizes it’s meant to be more notebook than handset as “the device puts pen and inking at the very forefront of its experience.”
We don’t have images of this supposed device, but here’s a video of what the original Courier project looked like.
So, to recap: a smartphone-sized digital notebook and stylus that can make phone calls. Windows Central speculates that Microsoft is looking to “carve out a new market,” for the device, which sounds like a generous description at best.
It’s difficult to imagine what purpose such a device would serve that can’t already be accomplished with a phone or tablet. It could be that Microsoft wants to make some sort of gadget that justifies Windows 10 on mobile now that Windows Phone is finally finally dead.
Still, this notebook-like device sounds pretty far from the answer to Microsoft’s mobile problem — at least, the way it’s described now.
It’s not clear exactly when, or even if, the device will launch, but the report says it could come sometime in 2018.