In Pictures: The tablet’s tortured past - 8 failures that led to the slates we use today

They were flat. Many had pens or touchscreens. And most of them died. Swipe back in time to see how tablets have evolved to the Surface, iPad, and Android slates we use today.

A brief history of flat Tablet computing has a long and tortured evolution. We can trace its roots all the way back to 1915. That's when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded a patent for a handwriting recognition system of sorts. In 1956, researchers demonstrated the first digital computer with handwriting recognition.

The modern tablet's more recent evolution started in Cupertino, but not with the iPad. Many manufacturers, including Apple, tried and failed at flat computers before the devices finally became mainstream must-haves. Take a look at 12 major moments that led to the tablet PC as we know it today.

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