After the launch of the Apple iPad technology fever has gone from e-readers to tablets. If by January 27, 2010 manufacturers announced almost daily a new model of digital player, since then new touchscreen notebooks are revealed with the same frequency.
But Cupertino’s”iPhonão” is just the newest application of a computer equipment concept since the 1980s. Find out in this article how a device given as dead by the market has become the latest object of desire of the geeks.
How everything started
When computers began to appear outside of the companies, many users complained about having to use a keyboard. As much as the typewriter resemblance existed-thanks to the QWERTY pattern of letter and number distribution-the number of functions performed from ringtones was gigantic.
Remember that in the 1980’s the mouse was not standard equipment on personal computers, and the graphical interface you know today was still taking its first steps. The MS-DOS and other command-line operating systems prevailed in home computing landscape.
When, in 1989, GRiD released its GRiDPad , the revolution that many now believe to start with the iPad actually started. Pen-based computing turned out to be promising, swapping the keyboard over the sensitive, stylus- activated screen and promising the handwriting recognition that would make anyone quickly learn to use a computer.
Show and disappointment
In a similar way to what we see today, as GRiDPad was launched the market saw a flood of similar devices. The slate computers-as they were called at the time-emerged in various formats.
According to ElectronicsMatter, in 1992, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Windows for Pen Computing, which allowed developers to create applications dedicated to the new way of interacting with the machine. The following year Apple embarked on the hype with Newton, historically one of its biggest commercial failures.
Until 1995, the Pen Computers-another commercial name of the time-remained like great hope, but without much commercial success. Reasons for this were left over: the much-hyped recognition of writing was malfunctioning and the limitations of computer processing, memory, and size transformed them into little more than electronic touchscreens .
In 1996 the scenario begins to change, thanks to PalmPilot . The small device was the first Pen Computer to really be a sales success, thanks to its good hardware and the Graffitti system of character input, with its movements differentiated for each letter.
As the market commands, in the wake of the PalmPilot, several other PDAs ( Personal Digital Assistants) have been released, including Palm’s great rival: the PocketPC .
Rise and Fall
PDAs have remained the main form of PC slate for the general public until the emergence and popularization of smartphones. Although they do not work in the same way, the convergence of mobile computing with cellular telephony has generated the possibility of connecting to the internet anywhere, which PDAs do not, always depending on fixed telephone lines or Wi-Fi hotspots .
One of the main responsible for the permanence of the slate PCs in the market was Bill Gates, of Microsoft, who maintained the investment of his company in the development of software for the tablets. The Windows XP Tablet Edition , for example, was accompanied by a series of minimum hardware specifications.
When a particular device met these specifications, it received the Windows Tablet PC certificate, proving its ability to operate as a normal computer, but without relying on the keyboard.
Even with all the difficulties, two categories of slate PC-in addition to the small PDAs-have managed to conquer their space: hybrid notebooks and rugged tablets .
Hybrids are mixtures of tablets with normal notebooks. To change between one state and another, simply rotate the touch screen, leaving the housing on the keyboard, and the screen exposed.
This type of equipment is mainly used in the corporate setting, where quick presentations and discussions about documents often happen thanks to the two-way rocker screen.
Also, it is not uncommon for a factory manager or an executive not to be able to sit at a desk to begin recording data in spreadsheets or text, a task greatly facilitated by digital ink technology developed by Microsoft. Soon after, in your office, the user can put the screen back in a normal position and use the hybrid like any other notebook.
With a concept completely opposite to the hybrid notebooks, the rugged tablets are equipment destined to use quite specific. Found in major engineering works, military operations, and other critical scenarios, these devices value both efficiency of use and resistance to weather and accidents.
While most computers do not withstand unparalleled crashes and other equally tragic events, rugged tablets are certified just for their toughness. In addition, protection against environmental hazards-water, dust and the like-counts to achieve this status.
The smartphones that stole the scene from the PDAs developed and, equipped with touchscreens, were given the name tablet. The iPhone itself has several features that allow you to classify it so, and that are also found in its fermented version: the iPad.
But in addition to super phones, a special category of equipment can be considered the source of all the current frisson on touchscreen computers: MIDs ( Mobile Internet Devices ). Among them, probably the best known belong to the N series of the Finnish Nokia.
Much like the PDAs of yesteryear, and more powerful than smartphones from the inside, handsets such as the Nokia N810 give the user a very interesting user experience with an intuitive interface and an integrated physical keyboard for more complex typing.
The new generation
Since January 27-date of the official iPad announcement-the market receives promises of new products almost daily. In a very similar way to the beginning of this story, everyone wants to get into the segment that promises to unseat netbooks and e-readers as gadgets of the year.
More powerful, versatile and handsome than the slate computers of the 1990s, 2010 tablets also have a strong ally not to follow the jurassic course of their predecessors: current mobile technology, with a 30-year advancement in development.
With Edge, 3G and Wi-Fi networks available almost anywhere, operating systems highly adapted to the reality of notebooks-such as iPhone OS and Android-and specific hardware such as capacitive screens and low-power processors, many difficulties faced By the first slate PCs do not pass close to the latest devices.
From now on
You can not guess what’s coming, but based on patents already revealed and ads from various companies, you can expect even greater convergence of digital players and tablets.
Amazon.com has already released the Kindle development platform, Microsoft announced in 2009 Courier, and several companies work with technologies that can be used in such equipment: flexible screens, E-ink color and often enough for video etc. .
But one can leave the future for later, and make the most of the wonders offered today. After all, who does not want a tablet?