With Microsoft’s missing third chassis details and Adam’s pontification of a tablet running the Metro UI that debuted on Windows Phone 7, we’re seeing more evidence–in the form of early prototypes–that the mobile platform may make it to larger tablet screens. In the past, Microsoft had attempted to scale down a full Windows operating system into a tablet form factor, and that idea continued with early prototypes of the Courier tablet, an internal design. However, we’re seeing now a revised prototype that now runs a variant of WIndows Phone 7 Series as its underlying operating system, making any Courier-class device a direct competitor to the Apple iPad–another tablet that utilizes a mobile OS that scales up rather than a downward scaling full desktop OS.
The hardware design suggests that the Courier will be based on a mobile OS. According to Engadget, the hardware is based on the Tegra 2 chipset: “rather than Windows 7, we’re told the Courier is built on Tegra 2 and runs on the same OS as the Zune HD, Pink, and Windows Mobile 7 Series, which we’re taking to mean Windows CE 6.”
Other details include a handwriting UI for pen input as well as a platform for Microsoft’s electronic bookstore, making it a competitor, once again, to iBooks on the iPad and the Kindle bookstore on Amazon.
Engadget is pegging the launch date for such a tablet device towards the latter half of the year.