Microsoft's Menlo prototype, previously believed to be a Windows tablet in the wake of Courier's untimely demise, is actually a prototype mobile device and OS, complete with 3-axis accelerometer and a digital pressure barometer. Yes, a barometer.

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The detective work on this device has been all Mary Jo Folye over at ZDNet, an what's she found since we first learned of Menlo earlier this year is this:

Menlo is a prototype mobile device with a capacitive touch screen (4.1‖ diagonal, 800×480) running Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 which incorporates a Bosch BMA150 3-axis accelerometer and Bosch BMP085 digital pressure sensor (barometer).

Plus this:

Running on top of the Menlo platform is a new Microsoft Research Silverlight application codenamed "Greenfield," which is a sensor-centric program allowing users to retrace their footsteps when seeking to find their cars.

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And a little of that: Menlo won't be its own phone, a la the failed Kin. It will instead be a new operating system that will run on a series of processors. As to the "when" question this appears to be deep in the R&D phase, and such info isn't readily available just yet. [ZDNet]