It might surprise people to know that the first tablet personal computer was conceptualised back in 2000 by Microsoft and was described as a portable personal computer with touchscreen as a primary input device and running on a modified desktop OS. Several tablet computers were produced at this time by Microsoft and Nokia but they were plagued by high costs and usability issues.
Fast forward 10 years and Apple came on to the scene, when ipad trade in value they announced the iPad (essentially a giant iPhone measuring 10 inches wide and lacking phone connectivity). The iPad was a fully mobile device with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity and it allowed users familiar with iPhone’s straightforward interface (iOS) to process information on a grander scale. Coupled with the fact that the device was lighter than existing laptops, had a battery life of up to 10 hours of video and 140 audio playback and introduced the app store made it an extremely versatile device. The initial iPad was very popular and sold units at twice the speed of the first generation of iPhone, selling 3 million units after 80 days. Apple’s rivals were quick to release their own versions of the iPad including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which ran on Google’s mobile operating system – Android, but none came close to the popularity of the iPad. After one year in operation the iPad had sold 15 million units and controlled 75% of the market.
Apple were quick to monopolise on their success and have released subsequent models year upon year, improving the processor and graphics card, reducing the weight while maintaining the same battery life. In addition they introduced the retina display (March 2012), which has 50% more pixels than the standard 1920 by 1080 HDTV, thereby given the screen an unparalleled level of screen detail at that time.
In late 2011 Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire, a new type of tablet device that measured 7 inches wide. This device fell in between the large smartphones (4-5 inches) and the standard tablet device (10 inches). Amazon had realised that a potential market existed after the success of the Amazon Kindle (an eReader which could last up to a month between charges), which was restricted just to books and presented in greyscale. It ran on a hybrid variation of Android with its own app store and apps, thus it came as no surprise when Google decided to step in and produce their own 7 inch tablet than ran pure Android. Both these devices were great successes and established that Apple were for the first time behind the competition in the war of the tablets.