Fun Fact- Tablets actually began nearly 5 decades before the popular iPad was launched in 2010.
The wildly popular iPad debuted in April 2010, since then slender touch-friendly tablets have increasingly become part of our work and personal lives; but, the “Tablet” has actually been in development since the 1960s! Below, we take a brief look at the last 48 years of development.
The Tablet Revolution
The Dynabook (1968)
The Dynabook Created in 1968 by scientist Alan Kay, it was a prototype, but it was the blueprint for the modern Laptop and Tablet PC of today. However it was never built because the technologies needed did not exist. This was the start of the The Tablet Revolution. Further reading on Wikipedia
Apple Graphics Tablet (1979)
Apple commissioned a device called the Apple Graphics Tablet. It wasn’t a Tablet in the modern sense as it had no mobility. It was an accessory that connected to an Apple II computer so a user could draw images with a wired stylus pen. It was soon replaced by a more efficient device for screen navigation: the Mouse.
AT&T EO Personal Communicator (1993)
This device is where we start to get a bit more technical. It was created by GO Corp. The $2,500 pen-based device was jam-packed with ports and features, which may have overwhelmed business customers. It came with a wireless cellular modem, a built-in microphone and a free subscription to AT&T EasyLink Mail for both faxing and e-mail. Further reading on Wikipedia
The PalmPilot 1000 was smaller and cheaper than the Newton and was released when early mobile phones only made calls. The PalmPilot and its subsequent versions had the PDA competition beat on price, battery life, calendar features, space for 500 names and addresses, and expandable memory. The PalmPilot is remembered as the first Tablet-like device with major mainstream appeal. Further reading on Wikipedia
Microsoft Smart Display (2002)
Smart Display was one of Microsoft’s bigger flops! It was a wireless monitor available in 10 or 15-inch sizes that had some mobility, but had to be tethered to a Windows PC. It relied on the slower Wi-Fi networks of the era and had other limitations such as only allowing one Smart Display to connect to a PC at a time and locking the PC it was tethered to while in use. It was discontinued in late 2003. Even a dominating corporation like Microsoft doesn’t always get it right! Further reading on Wikipedia
Axiotron Modbook (2007)
The Modbook essentially converted a MacBook computer into a tablet device. The power-hungry Modbook had the same technical specs as a 2007 MacBook but, the device was not produced by Apple and the customer needed to provide their own MacBook for the Modbook to work. Further reading on Wikipedia
Kindle E-Reader (2007)
The Kindle let users shop for, download, browse, read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media via Wi-Fi. The Kindle was not the first e-reader but it was the one that brought the medium to the mainstream. E-reading remains an important feature of all touch tablets. Further reading on Wikipedia
Apple iPad (2010)
Years of failed tablet releases culminated in one touch-screen Tablet! Apple got it right with the iPad; offering a beautifully designed 9.7-inch device containing thousands of apps, the iPad was reasonably priced. Although some sceptics saw it as merely a bigger iPhone, the iPad quickly became a sensation, with it’s sleek design it was not only a great piece of technology but a fashion statement which made people even keener to get their hands on one. Further reading on Wikipedia
Samsung Galaxy Tab (2010)
Introduced in September 2010, the Samsung Galaxy Tab was one of the first Android devices released post-iPad. With its 7-inch screen, the Galaxy Tab was smaller than the iPad and could be held comfortably in one hand. Its size, however, was an influence on the more successful 7-inch tablets to come such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7. Further reading on Wikipedia
Cisco Cius (2010)
The Cisco Cius was a short-lived, business-oriented Android tablet that served as a conduit to Cisco’s unified communications software. The 7-inch tablet was a victim of the iPad’s popularity, Cisco learned the important lesson that it is better off providing software that works on different mobiles than trying to create an endpoint device of its own. Further reading on Wikipedia
Google Nexus 7 (2012)
Google joined the 7-inch tablet fray in June of 2012 with the Nexus 7, a touchscreen Tablet that takes full advantage of the Android OS and the Google Play App store. The Tablet, designed by Google in conjunction with Asus, has been well-received by critics and poses a major threat in the smaller Tablet category. Further reading on Wikipedia
Surface Pro (2013)
The Surface Pro brought to the market something that had been attempted before, but never really mastered- a laptop/tablet hybrid; put simply a tablet with a keyboard that actually worked! Not only that but it ran a fully working copy of windows, meaning you could run applications such as Photoshop and Sage, making it a favourite amongst the worker on the move. Further reading on Wikipedia
Amazon Fire (2015)
In 2015 Amazon spotted a gap in the market, the need for a cheap affordable tablet. They soon after released the Amazon Fire with a price tag of only £35 which made it a rewarding investment. It has quickly become a household favourite for those who appreciate functionality and value for money. Amazon even offers a buy 5 get one free deal, that’s 6 tablets for the same price as a one mid-range leading tablet! Further reading on Wikipedia
So what’s next?
With every year that passes tablets become increasingly smarter, lighter & more powerful, leading to greater accessibility and this next year is no different. Sony is offering the Xperia Z6 while Apple is expected to launch the iPad Air 3 along with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 5 which we are sure will make an appearance. We expect a development in Virtual Reality (VR). Also, with Augmented Reality (AR) being in the stages it is, tablets will have to adapt to this new technology or sadly be left in the dust.
An interesting shift in the market that has been seen recently is the increased popularity in 2 in 1 hybrids. We have talked about them previously with the Surface series from Microsoft, this want from consumers for a tablet that can run day to day tasks like Word and PowerPoint while still allowing users to sit back and enjoy Netflix. Even Apple have started development in features such as running 2 apps side-by-side, which has never happened in previous models.
Will 2 in 1 devices replace the traditional tablet?
Like all other kinds of technology, tablets have rapidly evolved and we are all left wondering where the tablet revolution will be in another 48 years.
The Tablet Revolution was written By Thomas and Demi at Netteam. If you liked this blog post or any content produced on the Netteam Blog please show your support by sharing it amongst your social media channels thank you.