Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And if Microsoft Courier was the best for eReader applications ?

It has been more than 2 months now that I'have been looking at eReaders. After the iPad, it's now the turn of Microsoft to show off a model called the Courier.
if we want to maximize the usefulness of an eReader like a Tablet, it needs to support the largest number of applications. Let's have a look at the major options :
  • The iPAD can reuse all the iPhone/iPod applications. If there are a lot of those applications, let's note that they need to be developer specifically to run on Apple's products.
  • The Google Tablet will support any web development (web sites) thanks to ChromeOS which has a strong web focus. If one wants to work offline, those web applications will probably have to be ported to ChromeOS, for using its asynchronous services. There is also the possibility for Google to leverage the Android market and allow those (Java) applications to run on ChromeOS.
  • The Kindle has its own (Java based) Software Development Kit (SDK). Again, one needs to develop specifically for the Kindle.
  • Some Other readers, mainly those with ePaper screens, use Linux as Operating System. You than need to make sure your application will run with the distribution and ePaper screen (GTK+?) constraints.
Now let's look at a "Windows based" eReader as -I suppose- Microsoft Courier. From an application point of view, such a device might well be one of the best platform for the "applications of ePaper":
  • It could run everything that runs under windows, and that's a lot
  • It could than also run a browser (google chrome for instance)
  • It could leverage Microsoft Office, which I believe still has a large market share
Would a windows based Tablet have the lowest barrier on entry for eReader applications ? Probably yes.
On the same line, there would be Linux based Tablets, but they don't have so many ready to go applications. For instance OpenOffice is still lagging a bit behind MS Office (personal opinion, of course).

MS Windows based tablets would nevertheless still to face some challenges:
  • Boot time : You don't want to wait 30 seconds for you ebook to 'boot' before reading
  • Security Management : You don't want your eReader to freeze while working because some Anti-Virus needs to start now...


  1. I think Microsoft will come out with Windows 7 on the "Courier" unlike the iPad which does not run Safari on it but same as the iPhone OS which in my opinion is bad. Windows 7 boot times are not bad and in my opinion it will not be a problem for people to wait a few seconds to boot their ebook reader (My humble opinion :) ).

    How and what functionality of Windows 7 does microsoft apply to its ebook reader remains to be seen.

    Nice article!!

    - Sandeep Kumar.

  2. Microsoft has stopped the project... So we'll have to look at the HP Slate now...