Take a look at the surprisingly long history of the tablet computer
iPad Air. Released October 2013. The fifth generation of Apple's market-leading tablet weighs just 1 pound and is fractions of an inch thinner and narrower. It also pack the same A7 processing chip in the new iPhone 5S, making it 72 times faster than the original iPad.
iPad Mini. Originally released in November 2012; the new version went on sale in November 2013. The device, which has a 7.9-inch screen, is one-third smaller overall than than its 10-inch cousin and weighs less than a pound.
Kindle Paperwhite. This brand new tablet is back-lit and has a higher resolution than the company's previous e-readers, is thinner than a magazine at 9.1 millimeters and weighs 7.5 ounces. The device also has a long-lasting battery, with Amazon saying the device can stay on for up to eight weeks even if its back light is powered on.
Kindle Fire HD. This HD version of the original Kindle Fire has dual stereo speakers and Doby Digital Plus, first tablet to ever have it. It's also 40 percent faster, has a longer battery life and there are big and small versions of the new Kindle Fire HD.
Nexus 7. Released July 2012. Designed and developed by Google in conjunction with Asus, it is the first tablet in the Google Nexus series. In early September, there were reports that Google would release a 3G version of Nexus 7 within six weeks.
The new iPad or iPad 3. Released March 2012. Developed by Apple, the third-generation iPad added a Retina display, the new Apple A5X chip with a quad-core graphics processor, a 5 megapixel camera, HD 1080p video recording, voice dictation and 4G.
iPad 2. Released March 2011. The iPad 2 has a battery that lasts up to 10 hours, a dual core Apple A5 processor and VGA front-facing and 720p rear-facing cameras designed for FaceTime video calling.
iPad. Released April 2010. The original iPad was designed by Apple primarily as a platform for audio-visual media. Its size and weight fall between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers and it runs on iOS, the same operating system used on Apple's iPod Touch and iPhone.
Blackberry PlayBook. Released April 2011. PlayBook is the first device to run BlackBerry Tablet OS, based on QNX Neutrino, and runs apps developed using Adobe AIR. It features a 7-inch display and 3D graphics acceleration.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Released November 2010. This tablet has a 7-inch TFT-LCD touchscreen, Wi-Fi capability, a 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Samsung Exynos 3110 processor, a 3.2 MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera for video calls.
Sony Tablet. Released September 2011. Sony eventually made two versions of its tablet (Tablet S and Tablet P). Both run on Google's operating system Android 3.1 Honeycomb. They feature touchscreens, two cameras (a rear-facing 5 MP, a front-facing 0.3 MP), infrared sensor and Wi-Fi.
Nook Tablet. Released November 2011. The original Barnes & Nobel Nook e-reader was released in November 2009, but the newer tablet - which runs on the Android platform and comes with either 16 or 8 gigabytes of internal storage - became available two years later.
Motorola Xoom. Released February 2011. This is an is an Android-based tablet developed by Motorola. It supports up to 720p video playback, features a 2 MP front-facing camera for video chatting over Wi-Fi or cellular Internet and a rear-facing 5 MP camera that records 720p video. It has a larger, 10.1-inch display and 3D graphics acceleration as well.
Amazon Kindle. Released 2007. While Amazon's first model wasn't nearly what tablets are now, it proved beyond doubt that the time was right for ebooks and e-readers to make their move.
Compaq TC1000. Released in 2003. This hybrid Tablet PC was designed by Compaq, before the time of the modern-day tablet. It used the Transmeta Crusoe processor and had a detachable 10.4-inch touchscreen.
Microsoft Tablet PC. Released in 2000. Bill Gates and Microsoft achieved industry accolades for his early vision of the tablet, but the execution was not so great and this tablet was not regarded as a success.
Apple Newton MessagePad. Released in 1993. John Sculley, the CEO of Apple in the early nineties, coined the phrase Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to describe the Newton MessagePad. The handheld device appeared less than a year later, featuring an ARM 610 processor ambling along at 20MHz, 640K of RAM and a 336 x 240 display. This device helped mark the beginning of the PDA era.
Tandy Zoomer. Released in 1992. This PDA is an important part of the tablet story, but it was a struggle to get people to buy this touchscreen device in the early 90s.
GRIDpad. Released in 1989. Built by the GRiD Systems Corporation, this early tablet PC ran MS-DOS, supported stylus input on a 10-inch monochrome screen and had enough juice for about 3 hours of battery life. Critics regarded it as a creative breakthrough in laptop computer design, but the price prevented the device from being widely consumed. At $2,370 each, the GRIDpad was followed by similarly overpriced and underpowered rivals, which included the Momenta Pentop (1991), the Compaq Concerto (1992) and the AT&T EO PC (1993).
To read more about the history of the tablet, go to Techradar.com.
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