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.

The now

iPad 4, ThinkPad Tablet 2 Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

My long history with tablets has been rewarding and a great journey. Microsoft and the Tablet PC revolutionized my work for years, and I can't imagine how it might have been without the tablet option. While it's been difficult for the tablet OEMs to reach critical mass with tablet sales, perhaps that's beginning to change with the introduction of Windows 8.

I test a lot of Windows 8 hybrid tablets, or two-in-ones as they are beginning to be called. Many of these have great tablets that are thin and light and that infuse good touch operation with the pen support that served me so well in the past.

One such tablet is the ThinkPad Tablet 2 , a purchase I am happy I made. The highly portable tablet coupled with the optional keyboard reminds me a great deal of that HP tc1100 of old. A lot better hardware but so similar in form and function that it's obvious the tablet has come full circle.

When I think of using one of the new Windows 8 tablets back in my consulting days I get giddy. Having a thin tablet for taking notes that morphs into a highly portable laptop would have been perfect for my globe-trotting work of the past.

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It's too early to tell if these Windows tablets will be a hit with consumers. Professional workers will probably like them, especially those who work as I used to. In any event it's cool to see these devices appear that can straddle the work-play needs that many have.

Me, my fascination with tablets will continue as it has for over a decade. My current stable of slates is full:

  • iPad 4
  • ThinkPad Tablet 2
  • iPad mini
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Yes, it's too many for one person but I use each for different things. Plus, it's my job to cover this technology so I like to keep my fingers in the tablet pie. Or on one screen or another.

See also:

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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