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What is a Tablet PC?

By Richard Churchill – First Published August 2012

The Tablet PC is the first truly new concept in computer design in decades, the idea is simple, no dedicated keyboard, no mouse, just a very light touch screen computer. This makes them more intuitive to use than a PC, if you want to use an app, just touch it. When you need to type in some information, an on-screen keyboard appears.

The first Tablet computer, Apple’s iPad, was release in the US in March 2010. When it was announced, most “experts” (myself included) wondered what the iPad would be used for. In the two years since its launch the iPad has become a top selling product for Apple and changed the way we think about computers.

What makes the iPad and other tablets revolutionary is they have finally make the internet truly portable, mobile phones have been browsing the internet since the late 90’s but they are small and fiddly. Tables combined smart phone ease of use and portability with a screen that was large enough to make reading easy.

So how do Tablets compare to PC and (smart) mobile phones?

Tablet computers are essentially very large smart phones, they run the same software, and use the same apps (app – program specially designed for mobile phone or tablet). The only difference is you can’t make phone calls on them or fit them in your pocket.

A Tablet works best in situations that make use of its screen size and simplicity, so if you want to do things like looking at a web site, check you bank balance or watch a video over the internet, by using a Tablet you will normally have finished, before a computer has even started. If you want to write letters/reports, edit pictures, or compose a long email, it is possible on a table but it will be much easier on a PC.

Should you buy one? If you mostly use your home computer to go online, a tablet could be the only computer you need. If you use your computer to edit your holiday pictures, or do a lot of admin work on it, a tablet may be a handy extra but you will still want a PC.

Going further

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