We live in explosively innovative times for tablet computing and mobile apps. But it didn't all happen overnight. Most attempts to build a tablet-like computer, going back to the '70s, were not successful. Yet every failure was a lesson learned that led us to the iPad. Here's a look back at how the modern tablet came to be.
At the turn of the century, Microsoft had been trying to release a Windows tablet for years (it has been trying ever since and will try again with Windows 8). In 2002, it launched the stylus-based Windows XP Tablet PC. Its strength was in its handwriting recognition software, but the tablet tried to jam PC-level RAM, storage and CPU into a tablet. As a result, it was too heavy and expensive and was hampered by poor performance and battery life. Despite the best efforts of hardware-makers like Compaq and ViewSonic, the customers never arrived for the Windows XP Tablet.