Lenovo: The first ThinkPad was a slate device

— 5:09 PM on February 16, 2010

What better way to create buzz around a future product launch than by suggesting you beat the iPad to the punch 20 years ago? Yesterday evening, Lenovo updated its Tweeter feed with the following message:

We have exciting products to announce this month. Stay tuned. But first, a history lesson on the #tablet http://bit.ly/cVapAQ

The link points to a Lenovo-produced video showcasing the ThinkPad 700T, a slate device from 1990 that was the first to bear the ThinkPad brand. Designed in collaboration with a large insurance company, the 700T had an impressive array of features for the time: handwriting recognition, a magnesium case, passive cooling, and solid-state flash memory instead of a hard drive.

Of course, Apple has been kicking the tablet concept around internally for quite some time, too. Last month, pictures of an unreleased Apple tablet prototype from 1983 made their way onto the web. That prototype apparently had a stylus and an attached keyboard, and certain versions also had a telephone and a floppy drive. (Thanks to Engadget for the link.)

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