EO Personal Communicator
Possibly the first phablet computer in history, this device featured stylus input and a fully customised UI called PenPoint OS. It hit the shelves in 1993, but failed to see significant sales, resulting in the eventually insolvency of EO, the company behind it.
The GRiD Pad was another forerunner to the modern tablet, however unlike the Personal Communicator, saw considerable success. Manufactured by Samsung for GRiD Systems Corporation, the device saw widespread business use, and was even used by the US Military.
Apple’s first failed attempt to build a tablet computer was the Apple Newton. The company invested huge amounts of money into this range of devices, first released in 1987, however they never saw large numbers of sales, and was one of the major reasons for the company’s late 90s decline.
One of the first PDAs to hit the market, the Palm Pilot made a big impact on business users. With stylus input, wireless communications and other features that previously were only available on desktop PCs, the device was a forerunner to the modern smartphone and tablet.
One of the main devices on Microsoft’s Pocket PC platform, the O2 XDA featured a color screen and a streamlined version of the Windows operating system. Devices like it became standard amongst delivery firms, who used its stylus input as a way for people to sign off on deliveries.
HP Compaq Tablet PC
The pinnacle of Microsoft’s pre-Surface attempts to create a tablet, was its Tablet PC version of Windows XP. The HP Compaq Tablet PC combined this operating system with stylus, keyboard and other peripherals that took laptop features to a more portable form.
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