2000: Compaq iPAQ
Change one letter, and Compaq could have beaten Apple to the punch by a decade. But its trendsetting handheld was called iPAQ, not iPad. Still, for a while, this PDA was the coolest thing to carry.
Running on Microsoft's Pocket PC platform, which included mobile versions of Windows and Office, the $400 iPAQ served up a colorful screen and media playing ability, and later evolved to include Wi-Fi access, VoIP and an app market that added features like TV remote capability. It wasn't just close to the iPad in name; it was heading in the same direction.
Hewlett-Packard was so impressed it bought Compaq in 2001, dropped its own competing product, Jornada, and adopted the iPAQ as its own.