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The Original iPad?

Well, this is interesting. Seems Intel created a tablet computer back in the late ’90’s — known as the Intel PAD, or IPAD. From the Intel Newsroom:

It had a touch-screen display, was powered by an ARM processor, featured a built-in MP3 player and it let you surf the Internet on your couch. Sound familiar? Think again. This was the Intel PAD or, as it was known internally at the time, the IPAD. It was officially branded the Intel Web Tablet, but it never made it to market.

Amid the tablet frenzy at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show where some 80 new tablets were announced (how many of these may not make it to market is anyone’s guess), we took a stroll down memory lane with some of the Intel employees who developed Intel’s tablet over a decade ago.

The Intel Web Tablet let users connect to their PC and surf the Web from anywhere in the home using Intel’s Anypoint wireless home networking solution. It was not a stand-alone PC but an extended browsing device with some additional applications.

The Intel device ran on an Intel StrongARM 1110 processor, a derivative of the family of ARM microprocessors originally developed by the Digital Equipment Corporation and acquired by Intel under the terms of a 1998 legal settlement. Intel replaced the StrongARM design with a new family of ARM chips aimed primarily at the cellular market under the XScale brand, but then sold off the business to Marvell in 2006 as part of an effort to focus on the core PC and server businesses.

This article provides an interesting look back at what could have been, but wasn’t. I have to wonder if the attention from management, and the high expectations associated with it, came a bit too soon.


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2 Comments

  1. Can Intel sue Apple or any other tablet because they’ve created something similar?

  2. I doubt it. The tablet concept has been around since at least the 1980’s — the “datapads” used in Star Trek: The Next Generation, for example. And the name “IPAD” was never copyrighted by Intel, it was only used as an internal designation.

    If Intel had grounds to sue Apple, they probably would have done it already.

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