Gizmodo reported today that the Microsoft Courier Tablet project has been canceled. The news must have been especially bitter for Gizmodo, as the blog was first to uncover the project and referred to it many times as one that would ship Real Soon Now.
If Gizmodo wants to see why Microsoft canceled Courier, they should read my September 23 column, "Why Microsoft's 'Courier' Tablet Will Never Exist
Even now, Gizmodo seems betrayed and confused by the move, saying that Courier was "compelling," "innovative," and that they "loved" the interface.
The reason Gizmodo loved the "product" so much is that it was a fantasy product, not a real one. It's easy to conjure up product magic when you never have to actually build it.
This is one of the long-standing problems I have with a lot of tech coverage by both blogs and the mainstream media -- they're indifferent to the distinction between an actual, real, shippable product -- say, the Apple iPad -- and the mere idea for a product conjured up with Hollywood special effects like the Microsoft Courier.
I even wrote a column about that phenomenon (centered on the hype that followed Gizmodo's Courier coverage) called "Dispatch From Gadget Fantasy Land
." It makes delightful reading now that it appears the Courier will never exist.
Enough! Let's all call blogs and news organizations on reporting vague ideas as imminent products that will soon be on the market. It's just sloppy reporting.