Decade of tablets: A personal history

Summary:The tablet landscape is better than it has ever been. Having used tablets in my work for over a decade, it's amazing to look back to see how we got to this point.

Then there was multi-touch

HP 2710P
HP 2710 Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Sadly, OEMs making tablets dropped the slate form that worked so well with the tc1x00. They all adopted the convertible notebook form which used a tablet display that twisted over the keyboard for tablet use. This meant they were all heavier than the HP slate, but due to the bigger form OEMs could put more powerful hardware inside.

While the HP slate served me well, I needed better performance to run my business. I replaced the tc1100 with the HP 2710 convertible. It was indeed heavier, but if I set it down on a table I could take notes for my work. HP produced a thin slice of a battery that attached to the bottom of the 2710 and with it in place I could use the tablet all day.

While all of these tablets worked well with the pen, it's important to note that none of them had a touch screen. They required a special pen to move the cursor or to write on the screen. That changed with the next tablet I bought.

The ThinkPad x200 was a convertible notebook that added capacitive multi-touch to the mix, made possible with Windows 7. The ability to work with the tablet screen with a finger in addition to the pen was a real game-changer. The decision to get one was easy for me as I could see the benefit. The x200 was also slightly lighter than the HP 2710, which was another factor in my decision to switch.

I used the ThinkPad x200 until I made a career change that eliminated my need to take copious digital notes. The timing of that change in work needs happened to fall around the time the iPad appeared to change the tablet world forever.

Next: Consumer meet the tablet

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, iPad, Lenovo, Samsung, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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