15 Jan

The History of Tablets and Why its Important for you to know

What if I say you know absolutely nothing about tablets? What if I say there is much more for you to know about them?

Firstly, let me answer the latter part of the title of this article; why is it important for you to know about the history of tablets? You buy a tablet, gift it to your kid or use it all by yourself; why should you know how it all started? Because that’s the best way to cherish the thing you have in your hands and realize how far technology has brought us all.

Tablet computer may seem like just another development in technology to you, but it’s not. There is a whole history attached to this invention and it can get you awestruck within minutes.

The tablet computer has historical roots. The first device could only do one thing – recognize handwritten characters after analyzing the handwriting motion. The patent was granted in the year 1915; Yes – the very first system could only recognize handwriting and didn’t work on any keyboard.

After a few research systems came several companies with various commercial products in the year 1980s. To name a few, Pencept, Linus and Communications Intelligence Corporation were the ones that topped the list.

In case you didn’t know this already – the tablet computer is nothing but an example of pen computing technology, which refers to the computer user-interface using a stylus or a pen, instead of using devices like joysticks, mouse or keyboard.

Way before the actual tablets were introduced, fictional tablets had come into the picture in various science fiction movies in the second half period of the 20th century. If you have seen Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey movie (1968), you surely know what I am talking about. Apart from this, there is a description of the Calculator Pad in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novel (1951), which is way before the first tablet was even brought into the market.

If you have read Stanislaw Lem’s Return from the Stars novel (1961), it talks about a fictional device that represents tablets, too. There are also a few comedy movies that talked about fictional tablets. I am sure those who have watched such movies or read such novels were awestruck with the introduction of the first tablets in the market.

The most surprising thing is the presence of tablet computers in Star Trek, The Next Generation; could the writer really read the brains of all those professionals who were already working on tablets? I think so!

In the year 1986, Hindsight developed a tablet computer called Letterbug. This beauty was designed specifically for the educational market. Several prototypes were displayed at trade shows conducted in New England in the year 1987; however, no production models were introduced for the buyers and that surely saddened everybody.

In the year 1987, Apple Computer came up with its tablet project. Several devices were proposed with three different sizes; eventually, one was released in the year 1993. This released device was named Apple Newton, which was the smallest, yet the most perfect device with a screen of 6 inches and weight as light as 800 grams. Need I say more about this beauty?

After the introduction of the very first tablet came various other companies; that’s how the race began. While the initially introduced tablets were quite expensive, at present, tablets are not very expensive and can be afforded by most of the people around the globe.