In Pictures: The evolution of the tablet PC

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.

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GRiDpad (1989)

While desktop computing flourished in the 1980s, tablet innovation crawled along. But the GRiDpad, appearing in 1989, was an early breakthrough. It was a rugged MS-DOS computer with a 10-inch stylus-ready screen with advanced handwriting-recognition capability in place of a physical keyboard. The GRiDpad was over-priced at $2,370, putting it in the luxury device category for late-'80s technophiles. But look closely and you will see that it had a big influence on the PalmPilot and Apple Newton that would appear in the '90s.

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