New tablets and a 1994 video prediction
April 9, 2012
by Mark Ollig

Apple currently owns the tablet computing market with its iPad; however, new tablet choices are appearing on the horizon.

Yours truly was looking at a few of these soon-to-be-released tablets.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet comes with a 10.1-inch 1,280-by-800 display screen, and makes use of a pressure-sensitive stylus pen, or S-pen. It operates using a 1.4GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos processor.

This tablet includes a 2-megapixel front-facing and a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera, has built-in Wi-Fi, and comes in a 16, 32, or 64GB model.

Official pricing has not been released on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

Acer is promising 12 hours of video playback on their new Iconia A510 Android 4.0 tablet.

This tablet uses a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, and has a 10.1-inch 1,280-by-800 High-Definition (HD) display screen. It includes 1GB of RAM, and 32GB worth of storage space.

The A510 includes a 5-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and a 1-megapixel front facing camera. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and will be shipped with the Android 4.0 operating system.

Adobe Flash 11 is pre-installed, and the A510 supports a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), allowing it to be connected to a Video Graphics Array (VGA) projector input for those important meeting presentations.

The price for the Acer A510 Android 4.0 tablet is said to be about $450.

Asus announced a new tablet called the Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF700T.

The TF700T has a 10.1-inch tablet screen, with a pixel resolution of 1,920-by-1,200.

The new Asus TF700T is expected to be priced at around $600, and $700 for its 32GB and 64GB models, respectively.

Additional computing tablet choices will soon be available for those of you out there who did not jump on the new iPad bandwagon.

There have always been questions concerning where the idea for a tablet computing device originated from.

As many of you know, Apple’s first iPad tablet was available in 2010, however, there is a bit of controversy about who originally came up with the concept for an electronic computing tablet.

I discovered a few 40-year-old diagrams of an electronic device which strongly resembles today’s computing tablet.

This futuristic computing tablet was envisioned by Alan C. Kay. He called it the DynaBook.

In 1972, while at the Xerox Palo Alto research center, Kay completed a well-written description of the DynaBook. He even attempted to explain how to build one using electronic components and software technology available at the time.

Kay envisioned the DynaBook being used as an educational tool for children.

He explained how the DynaBook’s keyboard should be “as thin as possible . . . it may have no moving parts at all – but be sensitive to pressure. . .”

“Once one has gotten used to the idea of no moving parts, he is ready for the idea of no keyboard at all,” Kay said in his 1972 eleven-page document.

It sounds like he was describing today’s tablet touch-screen.

Kay’s document is called, “A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages.” You can read it and see diagrams of the DynaBook using this link: http://tinyurl.com/5zemqe.

In 1994, Roger Fidler, who was director of new media for Knight-Ridder Inc., created a video called “The Tablet Newspaper: A Vision for the Future.”

This video demonstrated specific instances of how a person could read, interact, and share the news and information from this portable, electronic “tablet newspaper device.”

The prototype tablet model being used in the 1994 video showed a rectangular, 3⁄4-inch-thick, black-bordered case (about the size of a magazine), with a large flat-screen and no physical keyboard. It looked very much like today’s Apple iPad.

In the video, the narrator describes the futuristic tablet by saying, “Tablets will be a whole new class of computers. They will weigh under 2pounds. They will be totally portable. They will have a clarity of screen display comparable to ink on paper. They will be able to blend text, video, audio, and graphics together, and they will be part of our daily lives around the turn of the century.”

“We may still use computers to create information, but we will use the tablet to interact with information,” predicted the narrator in the 1994 video.

There was no mention of the Internet in the video.

In 1994, there was no Wi-Fi, and using a web-browser type of graphical user interface when accessing information from the Internet was still in its infancy. The Mosaic graphical user interface had just come on the scene in 1993.

The narrator was very precise in describing the tablet’s features, and a person in the video demonstrated (in detail) how to use the 1994 prototype.

Fidler’s 1994 video was uploaded to YouTube in May 2007.

Apple released the iPad in April 2010.

The controversy of whether Apple got the idea for its iPad from Roger Fidler’s prototype tablet continues to this day.

Judge for yourself. Watch the 1994 video of Fidler’s futuristic, computerized newspaper tablet at http://tinyurl.com/4y7azs6.

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