**See photos below**
Microsoft has had the development of a tablet computer under wraps, with nary a peep from the lab, but details have just gotten out about the the company's secret project.
The Microsoft Courier is a booklet computer and is already in the "late prototype" stage of development--apparently far enough along that Microsoft's been showing the design concept to outside agencies.
It includes two, multi-touch 7-inch screens that can be used for writing, flicking, and drawing with a stylus pen, or navigated with your fingers.
Apple has also been hard at work developing a tablet PC of its own. The Courier is a different breed than its rival. GIzmodo, which leaked the details and has a video of the Courier in action, compares the devices:
The Courier user experience presented here is almost the exact opposite of what everyone expects the Apple tablet to be, a kung fu eagle claw to Apple's tiger style. It's complex: Two screens, a mashup of a pen-dominated interface with several types of multitouch finger gestures, and multiple graphically complex themes, modes and applications. (Our favorite UI bit? The hinge doubles as a "pocket" to hold items you want move from one page to another.) Microsoft's tablet heritage is digital ink-oriented, and this interface, while unlike anything we've seen before, clearly draws from that, its work with the Surface touch computer and even the Zune HD.
No word on the exact launch date, but expect updates soon.