Oh, how we were all going to create 3D avatars and use them to live a parallel existence in a virtual world of our own making. Many of us did, of course, but through the likes of World of Warcraft not Second Life, Linden Labs’ mid-2000s attempt to realise William Gibson’s ‘consensual hallucination’ concept of cyberspace - and to make a buck to two into the bargain. Unfortunately, Second Life couldn’t decide if it was a game, an online hang-out or a brand new, 3D paradigm for web-based commerce and services, but for a time, while major corporations that really should have known better were dashing to establish Second Life shopfronts, it didn’t seem to matter. Punters created their avatars and spent real money on virtual cash to spend on expensive plots of unreal land.
And then, of course, they all realised that living one, real life was busy enough. And social networking was born...
Before tablets, before netbooks even, there were Ultra Mobile PCs. Intel was the new category’s prime mover, pitching the UMPC in the mid-2000s as a handheld tablet PC based on its original Celeron processors and running Microsoft’s Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Intel had the notion that the UMPC might become the next generation of mobile computing device, but the UMPCs that actually came to market - Samsung was the only major backer, along with some lesser known names like OQO and Chinese contract manufacturers trying to make a name for themselves - ran hot, were consequently loud with whirr of cooling fans, and had woeful battery life. Most had no physical keyboard so were shockingly poor for information entry. Kit that did come with a keyboard, such as OQO’s e2, were expensive.
Before there was the iPad, there was the... Ubiquio
Intel quickly figured that people really wanted laptops that were cheaper and more portable than those then available, and devised first the netbook, more recently, the Ultrabook. Between those two, Apple released the iPad and showed how a UMPC should really be done.