We live in explosively innovative times for tablet computing and mobile apps. But it didn't all happen overnight. Most attempts to build a tablet-like computer, going back to the '70s, were not successful. Yet every failure was a lesson learned that led us to the iPad. Here's a look back at how the modern tablet came to be.
While desktop computing flourished in the 1980s, tablet innovation crawled along. But the GRiDpad, appearing in 1989, was an early breakthrough. It was a rugged MS-DOS computer with a 10-inch stylus-ready screen with advanced handwriting-recognition capability in place of a physical keyboard. The GRiDpad was over-priced at $2,370, putting it in the luxury device category for late-'80s technophiles. But look closely and you will see that it had a big influence on the PalmPilot and Apple Newton that would appear in the '90s.