Microsoft's demonstration at the recent Consumer Electronics Show keynote of "Slate PCs" made by Hewlett-Packard, Pegatron, and Archos is by no means its first attempt to help develop such a form factor. The Slate PC seems to be identical to a Tablet with only the name changed. In fact, the Tablet PC has long been a pet project for Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who showed the first Tablet PC prototype in 2000 at the now-defunct Comdex trade show in Las Vegas.
That night, Gates described the device, which featured input via stylus only, as an evolutionary step in PC functionality and usability. For the next ten years leading up to CEO Steve Ballmer's introduction of the new "slates", which support Windows 7 touchscreen features, the company has tried to make the Tablet catch-on but with little success.
Here is a brief look at the evolution of Microsoft's Tablet offerings.