Seeing all the attention (and unexpectedly lavish praise) heaped on Microsoft's just-announced Surface tablet reminds me of all the great Windows tablets I've tested and reviewed over the years.
Wait, that's not right. The vast majority of Windows-powered tablets I've tried. Some hit minimum levels of functionality, but nearly all were underpowered, lacked touch-centered software, were too expensive, or had terrible input hardware.
It's interesting to note that many of these examples date from the pre-iPad era. Once Apple's tablet hit the scene, there was a sharp drop-off in Windows tablets. Did PC makers decide they needed time to regroup and rethink after seeing what Apple could deliver for $499?
One of the only high-profile Windows tablets announced post-iPad was the HP TouchPad, one of the most infamous tech flameouts in recent history.. After a teaser campaign of YouTube videos and promotional photos, the actual product was essentially cancelled, but revived as the , a business-only tablet that didn't do much for us, and the WebOS
Microsoft may fare better with the new Surface (perhaps it really is easier when you make both the software and the hardware), or it could just as easily go down as yet another Windows tablet that didn't live up to the hype.
In this, you'll see many of the touch-screen PCs we've tested, reviewed, or reported on over the past several years. Why is this important? Because those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.