A tablet PC is a wireless, portable personal computer with a touch screen interface. The ‘tablet’ is typically smaller than a notebook computer but larger than a smart phone. These tablets are of different forms: convertible, slate, hybrid and rugged. The convertible tablet has a display that rotates 180 degrees and can be folded to close, screen-up over the integrated keyboard. The convertible models may allow user input through a variety of methods in addition to the hardware keyboard, including natural handwriting with a stylus or digital pen and typing through a screen-based software keyboard. A slate tablet, such as an iPad, has electronics integrated into the touch screen unit and lacks a hardware keyboard. However, external keyboards are available for slate tablets. Some of these function as docks for devices. A hybrid tablet, sometimes referred to as a convertible or hybrid notebook, is like a regular notebook but with a removable display that functions independently as a slate. A rugged tablet is a slate-like model that is designed to withstand rough handling and extreme conditions. Rugged tablets are usually encased in a protective shell and have shock-protected hard drives.
A PC tablet lets people browse the web, read books, send emails, watch movies and play games. The ambitions of a tablet are as much as shrinking our laptops as about stretching our smartphones. It is designed for reading, gaming and media consumption, but it also represents an ambitious rethinking of how we use computers. No more files and folders, physical keyboards and mouses. Instead, the iPad offers a streamlined yet powerful intuitive experience that is psychically in tune with our mobile, attention-challenged, super-connected new century. It supports Instant-on power, lightning-fast multitouch response and native applications downloaded from a single source that simplifies purchases, organizes updates, and ensures security.
While the adoption of touch screen interfaces has broadened widely in recent years, this is in the embed device market where the application consists of a single use. The penetration into the general computing market is limited to specific business use cases and educational institutions who are paving new ground with the use of technology in teaching students. It is fair to say that laptops have come a long way since the early 1990’s, LCD displays have been replaced with sleek HD screens and the once plus-size machines are now zero sized models. Laptops have evolved so much in that space of time, but this is as far as they can go; especially in this so-called post-PC era where tablet PCs are all set to take over the computing world.
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Tablet PCs have not yet been adopted widely by consumers or by industry and have remained a niche product. There have been many attempts to explain this, including the higher cost of the hardware and even that pen input is a novelty and does not provide enough utility. The cost of the hardware will continue to fall over time, but it may never reach the same level as a traditional laptop computer because of the added complexity in the device.