Do you remember when computers were large, cumbersome tools that took up your entire desk? They also seemed to take hours to startup. The very idea of a computer you could fit in your purse, briefcase, or messenger bag seemed unrealistic at best.
Yet today that’s exactly what we have. Tablet computers have revolutionized how we access and utilize information.
What is a Tablet Computer?
A tablet computer is a mobile computer. It is bigger than a smart phone and smaller than a net book or laptop. It’s generally about the size of a hardback book but significantly thinner. In fact, the new iPad weighs less than one and a half pounds. It’s 9.5 inches tall and 7.31 inches wide. And at .37 inches, it’s less than half an inch thick. That’s one small computer.
Tablets often come with built in touch screen capabilities. This means your keyboard is integrated into your screen – lightweight and easy to take with you wherever you go. You simply touch the letters on the touch screen keyboard to type your emails, documents, or to search online.
You might think that a touch screen keyboard takes a bit of getting used to. It’s actually quite intuitive on a number of tablet models. The iPad touch screen is amazingly easy to use and not much smaller than a traditional keyboard.
Tablets also commonly have built in cameras and/or video capability. And you can use a digital pen or stylus with your tablet to take notes, write documents, and draw. Tablets also come with a whole host of accessories including the often useful Bluetooth or keyboard dock.
Like a traditional desktop or laptop, a tablet computer has an operating system, internet capabilities with Wi-Fi connection, and applications. In fact, there’s not much you cannot do with a tablet that you can’t do with a traditional computer. They’re fully functional compact computers.
What Makes Tablet Computers So Popular?
We’ve become a plugged in society. Experts predict there will be one billion smart phones owned by 2016 and two billion personal computers owned by 2015. And tablet sales are forecasted to reach 118.9 million units in 2012, according to Gartner, Inc.
In short, we love technology and we love to have it with us at all times. Tablets make that possible. Here’s a short list of what you can accomplish with a tablet:
- Browse the internet from any Wi-Fi enabled location (And if you have a subscription with a cellular company then you can get online just about anywhere.)
- Interact on social media sites.
- Get and stay in touch – Instant messaging, text messaging, video calling, speaker phone or headset capabilities.
- GPS satellite navigation
- Photos – Take still shots and digital video. You can even edit them with photo editing applications and share them instantly.
- Read – download magazines, ebooks, and other digital information.
- Play games!
- Watch movies, videos and television.
Stay on top of your finances with bookkeeping, bill paying, and investing applications
That’s really just the tip of the iceberg.
Tablets offer infinite functionality and as more and more applications, aka APPs, are developed. An APP is a term used to describe software used on a mobile device or tablet. On your tablet the app isn’t generally saved on your device but rather you access by getting online.
You don’t always need internet connection to utilize an app, for example you can play solitaire on your smart phone without the internet, however applications that do not require an internet connection are usually extremely simple apps without much functionality. One of the biggest drawbacks to most laptops and net books is the battery life. With a tablet you generally have around ten hours of life. You don’t have to worry about finding an outlet or recharging on the go.
What about cost? With average laptops and desk tops running around $500 and up, it’s understandable that many people are switching to tablets. Tablets cost the same, or less, than a laptop or desktop. And they offer more conveniences.