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​

At the end of the 1980s pen-operated computing was seen as the next wave of the silicon revolution. 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 notion sank almost without trace. The pen computer 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 pen computer, and explores possible reasons for the demise of this particular class of product.

The full article is open access - see the Design Issues' website.