The Origin of Species: How Tablet PCs Have Evolved

GRIDPAD

Introduced: 1990
Price: $2,500
This early ancestor featured a stylus for on-screen writing and sold 10,000 units before a lack of software applications and a high price doomed it to extinction.

APPLE MESSAGEPAD

Introduced: 1993
Price: $700
Although it was dubbed a personal digital assistant, Apple's MessagePad was a tablet precursor. The device, better known as the Newton (after its operating system), suffered from poor handwriting recognition.

MOTION COMPUTING M1200

Introduced: 2002
Price: $2,199
One of the first gizmos to run Microsoft's Windows Tablet PC software, this elegant machine earned positive reviews, but the steep price, scant battery life (4 hours), and heat buildup scared away prospective buyers.

HEWLETT-PACKARD TOUCHSMART TM2 TABLET

Introduced: 2010 (January)
Price: $949
HP's latest sub-$1,000 tablet features a multitouch interface, a power-sipping Intel chip, and a swiveling keyboard for those who don't like the touchscreen technology.

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