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.
The Newton faced stiff competition in 1996 with the PalmPilot from Palm, Inc. The PalmPilot 1000 was smaller and cheaper than the Newton and released when early cellphones only made calls. The PalmPilot and its subsequent versions had the PDA competition beat on price ($300), battery life, calendar features, glass touch-screen, the ability to sync with a desktop PC, space for 500 names and addresses, and expandable memory. The PalmPilot enjoyed household name status until all-in-one smartphones like RIM's BlackBerry changed the game in 2003. But the PalmPilot is remembered as the first tablet-like device with major mainstream appeal.