Microsoft tablets through the ages: The good, the bad and the ugly, in pictures

Microsoft tablets through the ages: The good, the bad and the ugly, in pictures

Summary: Windows tablets existed long before the iPad was even dreamt of. Take a tour through some of most popular - and most unusual - devices of the last decade.


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  • Surface 2

    The Surface 2 arrived a year after the first model, and features a dual-position kickstand that angles the display at either 24 degrees or 40 degrees. While our reviewer liked the bump in performance over the Surface RT, the lack of apps remained a sticking point.

    Image: Microsoft

  • Surface Pro 2, 2013

    This is the Surface Pro 2 which arrived in October 2013, powered by a fourth generation (Haswell) processor, which delivered a improved performance and battery life over the original model. It features a dual-angle kickstand with the aim of making it more comfortable to work or watch video. Our reviewer liked the performance boost but said the unchanged chassis design "feels bulkier and heavier than ever."

    Image: Charles McClellan/ZDNet


  • Toshiba encore

    Of course it's not just Microsoft making Windows tablets - here's the Toshiba Encore eight-inch tablet which runs Windows 8.1. Dell's Venue Pro 8 is another contender.

    Image: Toshiba

Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, Mobility, Microsoft Surface

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  • Nice

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
    • A long list of mediocre products and failures

      History is repeating, Windows Surface ReTard is in the same lineage; still too early to have any clue to judge Surface Pro.
      • Ahhh another one

        Pot - meet Mr. Kettle.
      • A long list of mediocre posts and failures

        once again from mr. theo_durcan!
        William Farrel
  • Tablet PC, 2005

    This unnamed tablet PC is a Motion Computing (I think it's an M1400). The LE series that followed were excellent devices (used by Bill Gates himself, among others), and actually made sizable inroads to Healthcare and Construction. If they had sold at prices common today, they may have made a much bigger splash.
  • "Me too" Microsoft even in 2000

    That first orange and white design sure looks like an iMac rip off of a couple of years before.
    • I didn't know the iMac

      was a tablet...
      • Obviouslly a direct copy of the Newton

        that came in orange and black. ;)
        William Farrel
  • Price in pounds....

    Why can't the US ZDnet show us price in dollars? I mean, I could convert it, but then why not in euros, or yet, or Canadian dollars?
    • Pounds are dollars

      The price in pounds is the same in dollars. For example: A $349 Ultrabook from Fry's in California will cost £349 from Curry's in the UK!
      • $349 USD =

        220.35860 British Pound =

        0.63140 British Pound per US Dollar

        • I think

          he's saying that prices are usually universal, regardless of conversion.
          Michael Alan Goff
  • "Windows tablets existed long before the iPad was even dreamt of"

    Sorry, but this is ignorant. iPad was dreamt of since 1980s, when Jobs started to track touch technologies -- though they were useless at the time (only resistive type), so he could not do what he wanted with it.

    Since very beginning, Jobs had different concept of tablet, comparing to the very first concept by his friend and colleagure Alan Kay (Jobs hired Kay to work for Apple). While Kay envisioned tablet as a plate with physical keyboard, Jobs wanted it do be drawn, freely customizable part of screen.

    This Jobs' idea turned out to be one of the greatest IT inventions, ever, and it certainly influenced/will influence daily lives of billions of people.
    • Besides iPad, Apple produced Newton MessagePAD, the first tablet/PDA with

      ... GUI, handwriting recognition and touch controls. This 800g device was in development since 1987 and it actually supposed to have even bigger versions. Since Newton's initial release was long delayed and even then the device turned out to be buggy, it did not do well on the market, so bigger tablets were never produced.
      • Solely thanks to Newton, the world has ARM architecture

        Two years into the project, in 1989 Apple decided it wants RISC-based, low-power mobile CPU for this device. But there were no architectures for that. So they decided to look for usual desktop architectures and see which they think is the best to they could downscale it to mobile use. Among few, including MIPS, they saw UK's based Acorn designs, and decided to with it in 1990. Thus they initiated ARM; Jobs sold last of Apple's ARM shares only few years ago.

        Apple did the same trick with PowerPC architecture -- Apple needed RISC-based desktop CPU, and they found workstation class Power-architecture by IBM to downscaled to desktop. The architecture became so code/power efficient that since that time it became third most used in the history of IT -- after ARM and Intel, which is the most used.
      • One more fact about the Newton

        It sucked. I mean, really sucked. After all, it was a complete failure in the market. That proves it sucked, right?
        • It Did!

          What you fail to mention is that unlike MS (eleven times and counting), Apple learned their lesson and delivered what the customer wanted on the 2nd try. It's amazing when you think about it; MS, a maker of software, is personally responsible for making so much hardware instantly obsolete.

          Eat Up Martha!
          • You're weird

            you come, you post, you get your butt beat - and you come back for more.

            How's the crow tasting? ;)
            William Farrel
          • And you're almost always

            Unpleasant....Not constructive, not knowledgable, just vindictive and myopic. Why don't you try another approach, or maybe another occupation, because this one is just making you bitter.
        • Facts and the idiots that make them (up)

          Actually, it is a myth, propagated by the ignorant and the lazy (who can't be bothered to check their facts, and just rely on what they think is true, sound familiar?) that the Newton was a complete failure in the market. In fact, it did well enough to still be generating a profit when Jobs killed it. It certainly didn't lose money. And Jobs did not kill it because it was a failure, he killed it to concentrate all available effort onto the iMac.
          One could characterize it as a failure relative to Apple's current state of affairs, but that is hardly a fair comparison.
          (In addition, of course, it suffered from competing against itself, in the form of similar products from other companies, such as the PenPad and the Palm, which were inspired when Apple CEO Sculley couldn't hold his tongue and spilled the beans about the Newton Project two years prior to it's slated release.)

          Oh, and FTR, it wasn't even named the Newton.