History of tablet pc's
Most people think of the tablet computer as being a recent invention, in reality they are the result of many years of development and evolution. That being said the tablets that are appearing on the market these days are quite a bit different than the early versions. While tablets have a long history their future is open to debate.
The history of tablet computers goes back a lot further than most people realize. The first one was actually built in 1888 and used a stylus to capture hand writing. There were numerous other tablets built over the next few years that relied on a pen for data input. Except for a few specialized uses like allowing deliver drivers to collect signatures they really never took off. Nonetheless the technology that went into them played an important role in the ultimate development of the current generation of tablet computers.
The first appearance of what we would think of as a tablet today came in the early nineties. For the most part these were more like early laptops than they were like the current tablets. These tablets for the most part were developed into laptops mainly because nobody could figure out a good way to enter data into them that didn't use a keyboard. The addition of the keyboard created the shape of the laptop as we know it today. These early models did however serve to prove that there was a market for a portable computer and this led to the development of other technology.
The next step in the history of the tablet was the development of the PDA and ultimately the smart phone. Most of the technology that went into the current generation tablets has come directly from smart phones. The real leap forward was the decision to put an operating system on the smart phone, this truly made them portable computers. From there it was hardly a huge leap to realize that putting a bigger screen and more computing power on a smart phone would have a variety of uses. This is basically what Apple did when they brought out the iPad which was the first of the real tablet computers.
The iPad has proved to be surprisingly popular given that when it was introduced nobody was entirely clear on just why you would want one. After all they do basically the same thing as a smart phone or a laptop. This has raised some questions about the future of the tablet. The iPad has sold well but the tablets offered by other companies have not. This does lead to the conclusion that the success of the iPad had more to do with Apple's marketing skills than it did with producing a product that people actually needed. It remains to be seen what happens in the future with tablet computers.