Tablet, an invention that was born in the 60s

Dynabook first tablet history 1968

Although the term Tablet may seem relatively new, the truth is that it is something more than 40 years old . And it is that at the end of the 60s, a visionary "" and Doctor of Computer Science "" showed the world a concept that he called Dynabook .

Alan Kay , a computer scientist who later belonged to the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), publicly displayed his particular idea of ​​a "children's computer." What did your sketch consist of? Well, in a small computer, which was halfway between a laptop and what is known today as a tablet. This project was baptized with the name of Dynabook .

What was visible at first was that in addition to having a "resistive touch screen at that time, and that it worked thanks to a pointer", a complete physical keyboard was also offered at the bottom of the invention. This is how the concept of Tablet was born . And this was in the year 1968 .

dynabook concept alan kay

Although it was never brought to the consumer market, the main characteristics that the equipment should have were the following: a child had to be able to use it ; that is to say: the main characteristic of the project was that the user interface had to be as intuitive as possible. On the other hand, this Dynabook should be slim and its price should not exceed $ 500 ; figures very in line with what is offered today. Of course, not to mention the top models of Apple tablets that can, perfectly, exceed 800 euros .

Years later, Alan Kay began to stand out for working on what is today a fundamental part of computing: the GUI or Graphical User Interface. And is that Kay thought for his Dynabook in a system that was based on icons that gave access to all functions . Hence the nickname for the Dynabook was: "Children's computer."

The Research Center of Xerox Palo Alto was one of the main sources of inspiration for some companies . The Dynabook was not finally launched, and that the visionary presented in society a real concept that he showed to the public in order to better explain what his idea was.

Such was the utopia of the American computer scientist that until after 21 years, the first Tablet to use was not presented in society, which was the GRIDPad from the company GRID Systems . But beware, after the manufacture there were already such important names as Samsung, the one in charge of its manufacture . The Korean itself presented its own solution three years later: Samsung Penmaster . Of course, almost all the teams at that time were focused on the professional world; few of them were released for the consumer market.

By contrast, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Microsoft was launching what was actually known as a Tablet PC alongside the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system : notebook computers that offered a touch screen and were based on Windows . The hegemony of these teams, of different brands such as IBM, Lenovo or HP , among others ”¦ lasted around a decade.

Samsung Penmaster tablet 1989

Image courtesy Retrocosm

But Samsung "" again "" presented to the world its Samsung Q1 : a UMPC model ( Ultra Mobile PC or Ultra Mobile PC ), which based its operation on the Redmond icons , although without a physical keyboard. What's more, its screen size was seven inches and it offered mobility unmatched in the world of computing . Of course, the prices were high and perhaps not all pockets were up to the task. In Spain, for example, up to two models were sold: the original model and the Ultra model that included a physical keyboard "" and split "" that offered the power to write with two hands.

Finally, in 2010, Samsung ”” with its Samsung Galaxy Tab ”” and Apple ”” with its iPad ”” once again gave a breath of fresh air to this sector and began with teams that were a little closer to what that Alan Kay was referring to with his Dynabook .