8 innovative tablets that never really made the grade

by Doug Drinkwater

April 7 2012

For every iPad, there’s a TouchPad contemplating what might have been. TabTimes looks at eight impressive tablets, which could have been good, but which never really ever took off.

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  • 1 Kno Tablet
    Slide 1

    As a dual-sided 14-inch tablet for students to access digital textbooks, this was not your ordinary tablet PC or your usual hardware vendor. Silicon Valley start-up Kno showed off the tablet at an AllThingsD conference in 2010, but decided to shelve its hardware plans in 2011 when Intel came calling, asking to license its hardware designs. The company now prefers to focus on digital textbook apps for iPad and Android.

  • 2 Lenovo IdeaPad U1
    Slide 2

    Here’s another great example of a tablet being binned after debuting at CES in Las Vegas. The IdeaPad U1 was proclaimed as the industry’s first ‘hybrid notebook’, and one which enabled the user to disconnect the touchscreen tablet from the netbook casing to continue work on the go. It's still listed on the Lenovo website, but the firm says that it is no longer available to buy.

  • 3 Microsoft Courier
    Slide 3

    Microsoft’s been here with tablets before, but the Courier was the firm’s first attempt at a tablet since the iPad reinvigorated the form factor in 2010. In fact, sources say that Microsoft started work on the tablet since 2008. Eventually however, Microsoft binned the idea and stopped work on this innovative design in April 2010. With dual 7-inch screens separated by a hinged design (so you could close it like a book), the Windows CE OS, a stylus and Microsoft Office, the Courier could have been a winner. It was not, however.

  • 4 Asus MeMo 370T
    Slide 4

    The MeMo has been left in the shade since debuting alongside the Transformer and Eee Pad Slider in 2011, with sources saying that Asus cancelled the tablet as recently as last month. However, this solid 7-inch tablet with Android 4.0, Tegra3 chipset and a price of $249, could be set for a second chance if - as speculated - Google uses the slate for its own-branded slate.

  • 5 Panasonic Viera tablets
    Slide 5

    Panasonic unveiled 4-inch, 7-inch and 10-inch Viera tablets at the start of 2011, and these slates were designed to help you control your TV before the trend of dual-screen TV viewing really came to the fore. The tablets each connected to Viera Connect, Panasonic’s internet-connected TV service which offers access to the likes of Hulu and Netflix, and could chuck content straight to your TV.

  • 6 Acer's original Iconia Tab
    Slide 6

    There’s a question whether the Iconia Tab was a notebook or a tablet, but Acer promoted it at launch as a dual-screen tablet with 14-inch adjoining displays and a virtual keyboard on the bottom panel. It failed to garner any serious sales figures.

  • 7 Dell Inspiron Duo
    Slide 7

    Dell's hybrid tablet-netbook Inspiron Duo may have been ahead of its time. It had a 10.1-inch tablet screen which could be pushed against the keyboard to use as a tablet or propped upright to use as a netbook. Coupled with the ability to rotate the display 180 degrees and a full-fledged OS in Windows 7, it seemed like a pretty powerful device. Sadly, no one else thought so, and it is now discontinued.

  • 8 HP TouchPad
    Slide 8

    It could be argued that the webOS-driven TouchPad should have been a genuine contender to the iPad. Everything ran so smoothly; the 9.7-inch display was bright and colorful, and webOS allowed for multi-tasking and for syncing up with webOS phones. Sadly, HP has since discontinued the TouchPad, and migrated webOS into the realm of open source.


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