When most people think of the first tablet, they remember Steve Jobs and the iPad from 2010. However, the history of Tablet computers goes back further than the last 5 years.
Many believe that the first tablet computer was the “Linus Write Top” made in
1987. Although it was priced very high, it was top of the line technology back then. It had no touch interface, but needed a stylus. Many people saw it as a competitive successor at typing. However, it wasn’t a big success, with about only 4000 made, 2000 shipped and the rest destroyed. The price, $2795 (about 185000 Rupees), was one of the problematic factors. It definitely was not a product aimed at mass consumption.
The next big iteration of the tablet came in 1993, and was also Apple’s first step into the tablet market. It was called the Apple Newton and labelled as a “Personal Digital Assistant” or PDA. It was released not to replace the PC, but was good at certain tasks. It could perform small tasks like show a calendar and make a To-Do list. It too used a stylus, and its biggest advancement was handwriting recognition, the reason why it featured on The Simpsons. Apple would go on to release new iterations along the 90s.
In 2000, Microsoft made a big step in portable computing. It was credited for coming up with the name, “Tablet PC” with its early tablet releases. Bill Gates predicted that tablets would be a big thing in the next 5 years. He was about 5 years off, but damn right!
Microsoft soon became serious about the tablet market and built a tablet that could run a version of Microsoft XP .
By the mid-2000s, there were many tablets to choose from. However, they were used only by the military and factory workers. They weren’t a big consumer hit, mainly due to the price factor. The tablet was then redesigned in 2010, by Apple with the launch of the iPad. Many critics said that the iPad would fail. We all know how wrong they were considering the fact that over 125 million iPads have been sold till today. Apple since, has been working on making their products thinner and lighter, while steadily improving the specifications.
This led to serious market competition. Samsung and many other companies launched tablets of great variety based on the Android Platform, because of its free and open source nature. These were pricey, but soon the prices fell and sales increased. The next viral tab created was by Amazon. The Kindle Fire was the company’s flagship and was priced at $200. In 2012, Microsoft stepped into the ring again, launching the Surface. It was a capable machine, but the price wasn’t practical for most users. In 2013, tablets had severely affected the netbook market, and had begun to affect the way we interact with the traditional PC.
2015 has kind of been a weird year of tablets. All the new ones from the big guys (Apple, Microsoft, and Google) got a first party detachable keyboard, surprisingly like old times. But they also rock some really cool stuff like wireless charging, cloud storage, LTE and desktop grade performance which would only have been a fantasy back then.
Talking about keyboards and tablets becoming a little old-school, we cannot miss the Apple Pencil. Although considering Steve Jobs’s impression on styluses, and it suffering a lot of hate, the Apple Pencil in all honesty is a really good Stylus. People don’t usually need a stylus, but for those who do use one, this is your best option for the iPad Pro in terms of low latency.
Lastly, we now have Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, and it is the closest to a laptop. You can bump it up to top notch laptop internals and go up to 16gigs of RAM, and a core i7 processor. It runs full Windows 10, so it can run almost anything that a Windows 10 laptop can. With the introduction of convertible laptops, tablets have grown more than ever before and have found an elder brother. And with all that is happening to the gadget market, one can almost say phones are trying to be tablets, tablets are trying to be laptops, and laptops are pretty sure trying to be desktops!
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