The History of Tablets

Apple did not create the tablet. Just saying.

      Picture above shows Steve Ballmer now CEO of Microsoft holding up an old resistive screen tablet that ran on Windows XP which get this: came out before the iPad. Okay so I am not saying this looks like the iPad in any way or am I saying this tablet was successful because it wasn’t, but I am saying the iPad only revolutionized the market not made it. At the time tablets were used strictly for business not play. But the iPad made a consumer friendly tablet albeit at low specs and high price so you could play Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, or whatever else you do on your iPad. Then came along Google with Android which at first barely slowed down the iPad advance. Now iOS, Android, and Windows 8/RT tablets are all in a mud slinging fight for market share with no clear winner, but today I will take you on a trip down the proverbial memory lane from the days where the tablets of today would be pure science fiction.

The First Slow tablets

   Today modern tablets even cheap ones could easily outrun laptops of 2004. In the beginning, the first original tablet was developed by Acorn Computers called the Newspad in 1994. The pilot/trials for the tablet ended in Barcelona, 1997 killing the tablet and a dream, but that dream was relived by Microsoft as a bulky tablet PC made primarily for work places like hospitals. The tablet PC’s running full Windows XP tablet edition were expensive, ugly, and had terrible sales. The cycle went on with Vista even debuting mini tablet PC’s that no one ever remembered. Then along came Android with Android 1.4 debuting on the Archos 5. Obviously the device really was a lagfest compared to the quad core Androids of today. The OS was unheard of and untested before Google bought it. Now it did have a big hard drive for storing a lot of stuff and was powered by a 800 Mhz processor that let you play 720p at 24fps which today wouldn’t be acceptable on a high end device.

A slew of other tablets came but in 2010 the Apple iPad featuring iOS catapulting tablets into mainstream popularity. The iPad made the tablet cool essentially even if it was critically received. The app store grew changing the way software was bought permanently from in stores to online breathing life into companies like: Zygna, Betaworks, and other app makers. iOS completely dominated the market despite pushback from Google with Honeycomb in 2011 which was like a fly on the wall compared to the Apple monopoly. Recently Google has made the “halo” brand of Nexus products that have helped lead the charge in taking back marketshare from the iOS juggernaut which has slowed it down to a point but the iPad still has the mindshare advantage. 
  
Surface Pro
Then along came Windows 8. Microsoft launched Windows 8/Windows RT on October 26th, 2012 officially jumping into the death ring known as the tablet market with the new touch friendly OS. Windows 8 did offer many improvements over Windows 7 but the Metro/Modern start screen was received with mixed reviews. The Surface RT/Pro was Microsoft’s attempt at their own “halo” device as an example to other OEM’s to make high quality hardware. The saga continues as Windows 8.1 a much better and more polished version of Windows 8 has been released to test and is supposed to hit RTM by August. 
The Future?
 That is a hard one to envision. Most likely can see tablets being thin, fast, replacing laptops, and possibly docakble to TV’s. 


Print Friendly