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Microsoft has been involved with tablets since the early 90s, which must make it all the more frustrating to see Apple turn up and grab practically the whole market with the iPad.
Microsoft is hoping the launch of the Surface Pro later this month could change all that. Ahead of its arrival, here's a look back at some of Microsoft's earlier efforts in the tablet market over the last decade. For more on the history of Windows tablets, read Surface tension: The long, strange history of the Windows tablet.
Tablet PC prototype, 2000
Above is a prototype tablet PC showcased by Microsoft at Comdex in 2000. Evidently back in the brighter, more optimistic year 2000, orange and white was a perfectly fine colour scheme for a tablet — if you tried to sell a similarly coloured device now, people would assume it was aimed at the under-tens.
A year later, at Comdex 2001, Bill Gates predicted that the tablet PC would be the biggest selling type of PC within five years. It would take a little longer than that.
Toshiba Portégé 3500, 2002
Still, flash forward a couple of years and Tablet PC hardware was hitting the market. Here's a convertible Tablet PC from 2002 — the Toshiba Portégé 3500. It ran Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and cost a mere £1,799.