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Microsoft has been involved with tablets since the early 90s, which must have made it all the more frustrating to see Apple turn up and grab practically the whole market with the iPad.
Microsoft is trying to claw back ground with its range of Surface devices, the most recent of which, the Surface Pro 3, was unveiled this week. So 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.
Stylistic ST4110, 2002
Pictured above is a 'slate' style Tablet PC from 2002, the Stylistic ST4110, made by Fujitsu Siemens with price tag of just under 2,000 pounds. The handwriting of reviews editor Charles McLellan hasn't improved much in the intervening 11 years.