A tablet computer, or simply tablet, is a mobile computer, larger than a mobile phone or personal digital assistant, integrated into a flat touch screen and operated by touching the screen rather than using a physical keyboard. Some models also make use of a stylus pen.
Tablets do not normally have an integrated keyboard but use an onscreen virtual keyboard or can be connected to a physical one using a wireless link or a USB port. Some models have a detachable keyboard so that the touch screen can be used as a stand-alone tablet. Battery life can vary from three to twelve hours, depending on usage.
Although there were earlier examples, the first modern tablet computer was the Apple iPad, released in 2010. The iPad uses the iOS operating system and touch screen technology similar to that used in the iPhone. Since then, various other manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, Motorola, RIM, Sony, Amazon, HP, Microsoft and Archos. Most of these use Google’s Android operating system but tablets using Microsoft Windows 8 are now starting to appear.
Tablet computers generally support the following functions:
- Wireless mobile browsing (using 2G,3G,4G or WiFi)
- E-mail and social media
- Cell phone functions, eg: messaging, video calling, speakerphone
- GPS satellite navigation
- Still and video camera functions
- E-book reading
- Downloadable apps, eg: games, education, utilities
- Audio and video playback
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