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A tablet computer , commonly shortened to tablet , is a mobile device , typically with a mobile operating system and touchscreen display processing circuitry , and a rechargeable battery in a single, thin and flat package. Modern tablets largely resemble modern smartphones , the only differences being that tablets are relatively larger than smartphones, with screens 7 inches 18 cm or larger, measured diagonally,     and may not support access to a cellular network.
The touchscreen display is operated by gestures executed by finger or digital pen stylus , instead of the mouse , touchpad , and keyboard of larger computers. Portable computers can be classified according to the presence and appearance of physical keyboards. Two species of tablet, the slate and booklet , do not have physical keyboards and usually accept text and other input by use of a virtual keyboard shown on their touchscreen displays.
To compensate for their lack of a physical keyboard, most tablets can connect to independent physical keyboards by Bluetooth or USB ; 2-in-1 PCs have keyboards, distinct from tablets. The form of the tablet was conceptualized in the middle of the 20th century Stanley Kubrick depicted fictional tablets in the science fiction film A Space Odyssey and prototyped and developed in the last two decades of that century.
In , Apple released the iPad , the first mass-market tablet to achieve widespread popularity. The market for tablets is split relatively evenly between Apple’s iPad and Android tablets, with iPads capturing slightly more global market share. The tablet computer and its associated operating system began with the development of pen computing. Throughout the 20th century devices with these characteristics have been imagined and created whether as blueprints , prototypes , or commercial products.
The development of the tablet computer was enabled by several key technological advances. The rapid scaling and miniaturization of MOSFET transistor technology Moore’s law , the basic building block of mobile devices and computing devices ,   made it possible to build portable smart devices such as tablet computers.
Tablet computers appeared in a number of works of science fiction in the second half of the 20th century; all helped to promote and disseminate the concept to a wider audience. Apple Computer launched the Apple Newton personal digital assistant in The operating system and platform design were later licensed to Sharp and Digital Ocean , who went on to manufacture their own variants.
Pen computing was highly hyped by the media during the early s. The company launched the WinPad project, working together with OEMs such as Compaq , to create a small device with a Windows -like operating system and handwriting recognition. However the project was abandoned two years later; instead Windows CE was released in the form of ” Handheld PCs ” in It was later re-branded as the “Intel Web Tablet”.
It had slots for SIM cards to enable support of television set-up box. FreePad were sold in Norway and the Middle East; but the company was dissolved in Sony released its Airboard tablet in Japan in late with full wireless Internet capabilities.
In the late s, Microsoft launched the Handheld PC platform using their Windows CE operating system; while most devices were not tablets, a few touch enabled tablets were released on the platform such as the Fujitsu PenCentra or Siemens ‘s SIMpad.
Nokia had plans for an Internet tablet since before The user interface and application framework layer, named Hildon , was an early instance of a software platform for generic computing in a tablet device intended for internet consumption. They made two mobile phones, the N that runs Maemo, and N9 that run Meego.
The Modbook uses Apple’s Inkwell for handwriting and gesture recognition, and uses digitization hardware from Wacom.
To get Mac OS X to talk to the digitizer on the integrated tablet, the Modbook was supplied with a third-party driver. Following the launch of the Ultra-mobile PC , Intel began the Mobile Internet Device initiative, which took the same hardware and combined it with a tabletized Linux configuration. Intel codeveloped the lightweight Moblin mobile Linux operating system following the successful launch of the Atom CPU series on netbooks. In , Nokia and Intel combined the Maemo and Moblin projects to form MeeGo, a Linux-based operating system supports netbooks and tablets.
Android was the first of the s-era dominating platforms for tablet computers to reach the market. In , the first plans for Android-based tablets appeared. The first products were released in Among them was the Archos 5, a pocket-sized model with a 5-inch touchscreen , that was first released with a proprietary operating system and later in released with Android 1.
The Camangi WebStation was released in Q2 This unit was called the Ultra, but a version called Vega was released around the same time. Ultra had a 7-inch display while Vega’s was 15 inches. Many more products followed in Several manufacturers waited for Android Honeycomb , specifically adapted for use with tablets, which debuted in February Apple is often credited for defining a new class of consumer device with the iPad ,  which shaped the commercial market for tablets in the following years,  and was the most successful tablet at the time of its release.
Internet users owned a tablet, used mainly for viewing published content such as video and news. Android tablet sales volume was million devices, plus 52 million, between and respectively. In tablet sales did not increase. Newer models were more expensive and designed for a keyboard and stylus, which reflected the changing uses.
Tablets can be loosely grouped into several categories by physical size, kind of operating system installed, input and output technology, and uses. The size of a slate varies, but slates begin at 6 inches approximately 15 cm. Mini tablets are smaller and weigh less than slates, with typical screen sizes between 7—8 inches 18—20 cm. The first commercially successful mini tablets were introduced by Amazon. They operate identically to ordinary tablets but have lower specifications compared to them.
On September 14, , Amazon, Inc. In November , Apple released the iPad Mini 2 , which remained at 7. Smartphones and tablets are similar devices, differentiated by the former typically having smaller screens and most tablets lacking cellular network capability. Since , crossover touchscreen smartphones with screens larger than 5 inches have been released. That size is generally considered larger than a traditional smartphone, creating the hybrid category of the phablet by Forbes  and other publications.
At the time of the introduction of the first phablets, they had screens of 5. Examples of phablets from and onward are the Samsung Galaxy Note series newer models of 5. A 2-in-1 PC is a hybrid or combination of a tablet and laptop computer that has features of both. Distinct from tablets, 2-in-1 PCs all have physical keyboards , but they are either concealable by folding them back and under the touchscreen “2-in-1 convertible” or detachable “2-in-1 detachable”.
Some 2-in-1s have processors and operating systems like those of laptops, such as Windows 10 , while having the flexibility of operation as a tablet. Simple tablets are mainly used as media consumption devices, while 2-in-1s have capacity for both media consumption and content creation , and thus 2-in-1s are often called laptop or desktop replacement computers.
Some tablets are modified by adding physical gamepad buttons such as D-pad and thumb sticks for better gaming experience combined with the touchscreen and all other features of a typical tablet computer.
Most of these tablets are targeted to run native OS games and emulator games. Nvidia ‘s Shield Tablet , with an 8-inch mm display, and running Android , is an example. It runs Android games purchased from Google Play store. PC games can also be streamed to the tablet from computers with some higher end models of Nvidia-powered video cards.
Booklets are dual-touchscreen tablet computers with a clamshell design that can fold like a laptop. Examples include the Microsoft Courier , which was discontinued in ,   the Sony Tablet P considered a flop ,  and the Toshiba Libretto W Customized business tablets are built specifically for a business customer’s particular needs from a hardware and software perspective, and delivered in a business-to-business transaction.
For example, in hardware, a transportation company may find that the consumer-grade GPS module in an off-the-shelf tablet provides insufficient accuracy, so a tablet can be customized and embedded with a professional-grade antenna to provide a better GPS signal.
Such tablets may also be ruggedized for field use. For a software example, the same transportation company might remove certain software functions in the Android system, such as the internet browser, to reduce costs from needless cellular network data consumption of an employee, and add custom package management software.
Other applications may call for a resistive touchscreen and other special hardware and software. A table ordering tablet is a touchscreen tablet computer designed for use in casual restaurants. Since , restaurant chains including Chili’s ,  Olive Garden  and Red Robin  have adopted them. As of , the two most popular brands were Ziosk and Presto. Two major architectures dominate the tablet market,  ARM Ltd. The CPUs have been incorporated into tablet PCs over the years and generally offer greater performance along with the ability to run full versions of Microsoft Windows , along with Windows desktop and enterprise applications.
Non-Windows based x86 tablets include the JooJoo. Intel announced plans to enter the tablet market with its Atom in ARM’s licensing model supported this success by allowing device manufacturers to license, alter and fabricate custom SoC derivatives tailored to their own products. This has helped manufacturers extend battery life and shrink component count along with the size of devices. The multiple licensees ensured that multiple fabricators could supply near-identical products, while encouraging price competition.
This forced unit prices down to a fraction of their x86 equivalents. The architecture has historically had limited support from Microsoft, with only Windows CE available, but with the release of Windows 8, Microsoft announced added support for the architecture, shipping their own ARM-based tablet computer, branded the Microsoft Surface , as well as an x Intel Core i5 variant branded as Microsoft Surface Pro.
A key component among tablet computers is touch input on a touchscreen display. This allows the user to navigate easily and type with a virtual keyboard on the screen or press other icons on the screen to open apps or files.
The first tablet to do this was the GRiDPad by GRiD Systems Corporation ; the tablet featured both a stylus , a pen-like tool to aid with precision in a touchscreen device as well as an on-screen keyboard. This operation makes precise use of our eye—hand coordination. Since mids, most tablets use capacitive touchscreens with multi-touch , unlike earlier resistive touchscreen devices which users needed styluses to perform inputs.
Many tablets support a stylus and support handwriting recognition. Wacom and N-trig digital pens provide approximately DPI resolution for handwriting, exceeding the resolution of capacitive touch screens by more than a factor of Pressure is also used in digital art applications such as Autodesk Sketchbook.
After , with access to capacitive screens and the success of the iPhone, other features became common, such as multi-touch features in which the user can touch the screen in multiple places to trigger actions and other natural user interface features, as well as flash memory solid state storage and “instant on” warm-booting ; external USB and Bluetooth keyboards defined tablets. Most tablets released since mid use a version of an ARM processor for longer battery life.
The ARM Cortex family is powerful enough for tasks such as internet browsing , light creative and production work and mobile games. Other features are: High-definition, anti-glare display , touchscreen, lower weight and longer battery life than a comparably-sized laptop, wireless local area and internet connectivity usually with Wi-Fi standard and optional mobile broadband , Bluetooth for connecting peripherals and communicating with local devices, ports for wired connections and charging, for example USB ports , Early devices had IR support and could work as a TV remote controller , docking station , keyboard and added connectivity, on-board flash memory , ports for removable storage, various cloud storage services for backup and syncing data across devices, local storage on a local area network LAN.
Tablets, like conventional PCs, use several different operating systems , though dual-booting is rare.
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