Tablet computer history


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Tablet computer history

  1. 1. Tablet computer history History While some may argue that tablet computers have been around as early as those introduced in the early 2000s, or even with Applesown Newton (1987-1998), the idea of a tablet style computer actually goes all the way back to the 1800s. The first patent for an electronic tablet used for handwriting was granted in 1888, though it was an article written by Alan Kay in the early 1970s that best conceptualized what a tablet computer was to become. The DynaBook was to be a tablet-style computer aimed at learning and gatheringinformation. Kay envisioned that DynaBooks could connect wirelessly to centralised information storages, and could "abstract" information from those storages. It was about the size of a notepad, with a hardware keyboard at the bottom, and a screen at the top (using"liquid crystal", a brand-new technology back then). It could also play audio files, record voice memos, and much, much more. So far, it sounds like a tablet, but you are all wondering where the stylus comes in. Apart from printing the word "stylus" in one the illustrations, theres no further mention of it in the article. In fact Kay takes it all a few steps further: he basically describes a multitouch display. In 1972. Thats almost 40 years ago.
  2. 2. • The first tablets, as we would recognize them, didnt come about until the late 1950s and early 1960s. These "tablets" consisted of a large computer terminal attached to a receiver pad, which accepted electrical or magnetic input from a stylus. They were extremely expensive to make and extremely heavy. Over two centuries ago, Elisha Grays 1888 "Telautograph" (U.S. patent No. 386,815), became the forerunner to the modern tablet. Over the years, as tablets became functionally more complex, they also became more compact.
  3. 3. • RAND Graphicon, 1964 The RAND tablet, also called the Grafacon (for Graphic Converter) was one of the earliest tablet computers and originally sold for $18,000 in 1964 - The attached stylus sensed electrical pulses relayed through a fine grid of conductors housed beneath the drawing surface. source:
  4. 4. • Atlas DEC PDP 15, 1972 Introduced in 1972, the tablet officially known as the Atlas DEC PDP 15 was produced for commercial consumption by schools and technology labs. It was obsolete by 1973, as new technologies and platforms became available. The typewriter attached to the system produced a hard copy of the tasks performed.
  5. 5. • Apple Graphics Tablet, 1979 This $650 peripheral launched for the Apple II platform in 1979 which enabled users to draw on the tablet with a wired stylus pen and transfer those creations over to their computer."
  6. 6. • GridPad, 1988 The GridPad was one of the very first portable tablet PCs (it weighed 5 lbs, a feat for the time). The touchscreen device was priced at $2,370 and reportedly inspired Jeff Hawkins to create the Palm Pilot. AST bought GRiD Systems from Tandy, which had acquired it in 1988, ran into trouble in the mid 1990s. When it collapsed, the GRiDPAD disappeared. source: Technologizer
  7. 7. • NCR PenPoint, 1991 An early tablet that ran on the PenPoint operating systems for tablets and PDAs. It cost a whopping $4,765. In 1991, the New York Times said of the gadget, "The NCR Corporation has introduced an intriguing pen-based notepad computer that is truly ahead of its time."
  8. 8. • AT&T EO PC, 1993 The PC stands for personal communicator. This $1,599 portable tablet, which also ran on the PenPoint OS, came with an integrated celluar phone, a modem and fax, a hard drive, speakers and a microphone. AT&T reportedly burned through $40-$50 million to buy Go, the company that created the PenPoint pen operating system, and Eo, its hardware spinoff. After the gadget flopped, Ma Bell decided to refocus its energies on devices that packed similar functionality into a more phone-like shape?which was a visionary move considering that smartphones didn?t exist yet. But months later, in July of 1994, it just gave up. source: Technologizer
  9. 9. • Apple Newton, 1993 In development for nearly 5 years before its release in 1993, Apple, Incs first tablet, the Newton, was one of the first PDAs (personal digital assistants) on the market. Apple marketed the Newton poorly, and sold in low numbers. Later models were vastly improved, but the Newton never took off." The Newton line was discontinued by 1998.
  10. 10. • Zenith CruisePad, 1995 This super-slim portable tablet cost $1,399 when it was released in 1995. Troubled with financial woes, Zenith sold its company and assets to Korean electronics manufacturer, LG just two years later, with all but the Zenith name scrapped.
  11. 11. • Fujitsu Stylistic 2300, 1998 Fujitsu released its first and only production tablet in 1998, and was one of the very first to offer a color touchscreen. Developmental costs priced the tablet out of the hands of most business consumers, and very few sold and production was halted shortly after its release.
  12. 12. • Compaq tablet, 2001 Bill Gates himself debuted this Compaq tablet PC at a tech fair in 2001, predicting that tablets would dominate the PC market within five years. The device helped popularize the term tablet PC.
  13. 13. • Microsoft Mira, 2003 The tablet-like Windows Smart Display (aka Mira) was a touchscreen LCD monitor that connected to a PC via Wi-Fi. It was released in early 2003 and, without much success penetrating the market, canceled by the end of the same year.
  14. 14. • Microsoft Mira, 2003 The tablet-like Windows Smart Display (aka Mira) was a touchscreen LCD monitor that connected to a PC via Wi-Fi. It was released in early 2003 and, without much success penetrating the market, canceled by the end of the same year.
  15. 15. • Axiotron ModBook, 2007 A sort of forerunner to the iPad, this tablet PC ModBook is a MacBook thats been converted into a tablet PC, but was not produced by Apple. Axitron charged $800 for the ModBook, but the customer had to provide his/her own MacBook, bringing the price closer to $2,000 .