A Bitter Pill to Swallow

P. Atkinson, ‘A Bitter Pill to Swallow:
The Rise and Fall of the Tablet Computer’
Design Issues 24(4): 2008: 3-25.

pill1

pill2

pill3

Abstract

The first tablet computers appeared at the tail end of the 1980s, and they generated a huge amount of interest in the computer industry and serious amounts of investment money from venture capitalists. Pen operated computing was seen as the next wave of the silicon revolution and the tablet computer was seen to be the device everyone would want to use. It was reported in 1991 that ‘Nearly every major maker of computers has some type of pen-based machine in the works’.

Yet, in the space of just a few years, the tablet computer and the notion of pen computing sank almost without trace. Following a series of disastrous product launches and the failure of a number of promising startup companies, the tablet computer was discredited as an unfulfilled promise. It no longer represented the future of mobile computing, but was instead derided as an expensive folly – an irrelevant sideline in the history of the computer.

This article traces the early development of pen computing, the appearance, proliferation and disappearance of the tablet computer, and explores possible reasons for the demise of this particular class of product.

This article can be downloaded for free from MIT Press

Advertisements

0 Responses to “A Bitter Pill to Swallow”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5 other followers

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: