Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Tablet

I decided to research the term "tablet." When I think of this keyboard-less, touch screen technology I think of it as being a fairly new creation. So I was surprised to see the first mention of it in the New York Times was actually November 14, 1993 when it was being described as a "computer subnotebook." I chuckled a bit when reading this article because not only did it describe the tablet by comparing it to Moses and the Ten Commandments, but it spoke of someone predicting these "subnotebooks" to someday maybe be as light as two pounds, something that no one in today's society thinks twice about. Still, this is a much more accurate description of what a tablet is than I was expecting to find from an article published so long ago. But then of course there are plenty of sources such as early articles from the Chicago Tribune that don't talk about tablets except in the sense of slabs of rock with carving or pills that you consume until 1998. The discussion of Tablets as we know them today, at least on databases such as Jstor, didn't seem to really pick up until around 2011. However I honestly think that today if you said, "Check out my new tablet!" everyone would think of the touchscreen electronic technology, not of a pill or slab of rock. This just goes to show how much and how quickly technology impacts our lives and even vocabulary more than we may realize.


  1. I believe that technologies similar to the Tablet are always put on a pedestal and beg for improvements. Like when computers were coming out. At first, people just wanted to be able to fit all of the circuit boards into that large box of a computer, now we want to know how we can shrink the boards and fit them into smaller boxes. But I guess that is what makes us improve in these fields, we always want to improve and exceed our capacity.

  2. I figured tablets were fairly new as well so that is surprising how that article came out in 1993. But tablets definitely didn't mean then what it means today. People always want to get the best technology on the market and when/if they get it they want it to be better still. Back in the day I think more people bought a computer or phone and stuck with it. Now, a lot more people "upgrade" more frequently and get new phones, tablets, and laptops when new and improved versions come out.