History of Tablet Computers

Contrary to a popular belief, Steve Jobs was not the one to develop the first tablet computer. There were numerous attempts to create this device decades before Apple introduced the iPad. However, there is no denying the fact that Jobs was the first to make a truly successful tablet, one that took the world by storm.

The first man to introduce the idea of tablet PCs was Alan Kay. In 1972, he published a paper about a flat device made of a touch screen display and miniaturized computer components. He also predicted that using Wi-Fi technology would make it an excellent educational tool for children. At the time, his ideas could not be realized, but the concept impressed many hardware developers that tried to experiment in producing this kind of device. The first truly impressive result of those experiments was the GridPad, released in 1989. The device was developed by Jeff Hawkins, the founder of Palm. It was too expensive and heavy to become popular, but it showed that this technology could exist.

The next good example of tablet computers was developed by Apple in 1993. Their Newton used handwriting-recognition technology that was faulty, and prevented the device from becoming successful. Jeff Hawkins proved that he was a serious player in this field by releasing the PalmPilot in 1997. Its functions were limited and it still cost too much, but the military and many field workers adopted the device due to the possibilities it offered.

In the beginning of the 21st century (2000 and 2002), Microsoft released two fully functional tablet computers. They were cumbersome and costly prototypes that did not manage to catch the public’s attention. Things changed for tablet computer technology when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPad in 2010. The device took off immediately and has remained the leader of tablet sales ever since.

Apple’s product impressed the public with its design, high quality hardware, and a wide range of useful applications. The wave of tablet popularity started by iPad continued to grow as the first Android devices were released onto the market. The free operation system allowed many companies to develop cheaper devices that immediately caught the public’s attention. Amazon Kindle Fire redefined the tablet PC market due to its cost of only $199.

The obvious popularity of tablet computers, proven by their ever increasing sales, clearly states that this device is the future of technology. Tablets completely overshadowed netbooks and made them almost obsolete in a matter of months. As technology develops further and the functionality of tablets increases, they will be able to completely replace laptops and PCs.


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