What is a tablet?

A tablet (tablet computer) is a mobile or portable type of computer which is mainly operated through touching the screen instead of using a keyboard. A tablet operating system offers the user with an on screen virtual keyboard and numerous applications with various uses and purposes. You can also use a stylus or digital pen to operate on a tablet.



History of tablets dates back to many years ago but Microsoft’s attempt to create tablets was in the year 1999. Microsoft Tablet PCs that came out then were mainly for business needs and they were also used in the health care sector. However the devices failed to gain any popularity due to unresolved issues, lack of applications and their heavy weight.

In the year 2010 Apple introduced the iPad device. Apple’s iPad completely changed the concept behind tablet PCs and defined it as a class of portable devices; “A portable device different from Laptops or netbooks.” However the first iPad was released with Wi-Fi and it was mainly focused on media consumption which includes browsing, photos, videos, email etc. But for initial activation and backups it had to be plugged to a PC. Since the arrival of iPad 2 with iOS 5 in October 2011, iPads are independent devices and they no longer need to be plugged into a PC for initial activations and backups.

Dell Streak and Samsung Galaxy Tab are also tablet’s that were released in the year 2010 a little while after Apple’s iPad. In Consumer Electronics Show 2011, over 80 tablets were introduced including Motorola Xoom tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Toshiba Thrive with Android which is Google’s mobile operating system. By that time Apple had already released its second generation iPad.

Operating Systems

iOS – Also known as iPhone OS, iOS is an Operating System developed by Apple Inc. iOS supports devices including iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV. Unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple does not license its operating system for installation on non-Apple devices. Apple device owners can download applications from Apple App Store with categories such as apps by Apple, business, entertainment, Music, games, social networking etc. Apple’s App Store contains more than 550,000 apps designed only for devices with iOS. The recent versions of iOS are iOS 4.1, iOS 4.2, iOS 4.3, iOS 5.0 and iOS 5.1.

Android Operating System – As a Linux based OS, Android was designed for mobile devices and tablets. Android OS was developed by Open Handset Alliance led by Google. Currently Android OS is used all over the world for mobile and tablet devices such as smart-phones by Samsung, Motorola, LG etc and tablets by Samsung, Motorola, Dell and many more. Android Operating System is installed on over 130 million devices all around the globe. Android gets updated every once in a while and each time new features get added and some issues get resolved. Some of the recent releases include Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, 3.1, 3.2, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Google Play is an online app store for Android Devices which consists of over 300,000 apps. Google Play was formerly known as Android Market. There different types of applications available in Google play including games, productivity apps, books, business, communications, entertainment, music, photography etc.

BlackBerry Tablet OS – This BlackBerry Tablet OS is a QNX based operating system which is mainly designed for the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet device. The OS is on the plus side on every feature but it has not gain the popularity that Android and iOS have. The current version of BlackBerry Tablet OS is 2.0.

Windows 8 – Windows 8 is Microsoft’s attempt to enter the market for portable and mobile devices. The upcoming Windows 8 OS has been designed for PC devices as well as portable devices like tablets. It has a metro interface with multi touch features and a windows app store. This will the perfect operating system for a tablet especially for Microsoft fans.

Tablet PC Processors

Tablet PCs are mainly powered by ARM processors. These processors are produced by numerous manufacturers but they all have very similar performances. The most commonly used ARM Procssors are the Cortex-A series that include Cortex-A5, Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9, and Cortex-A15. The X86 processors are also available in the Tablet PC world but they can only run Windows operating system. These include Intel Atom Z series, AMD Fusion C series, Intel Atom N Series, AMD Fusion E Series, Intel Core i3 ULV Series and Intel Core i5 ULV Series.

Best Tablets

Apple iPad – The third generation of iPad is here and it is absolutely breathtaking. Apple has in a way redefined the tablet game again. With the first look at Apple iPad 3, you can’t really figure out what has changed since the iPad 2. Once you turn it on and check it out a little bit you will clearly see that the screen quality has drastically changed for better. Apple has made many changes to the iPad and it’s not calling it iPad 3 but just plain iPad and its price remains same as before at $499 for a 16 GB device, $100 more for 32GB, $200 more for 64GB and an extra $130 for AT$T (LTE 4G connectivity).

Apple iPad Specs and features: –

  • Dual-core Apple A5X custom designed processor
  • Quad-core graphics
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 4G
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • VGA sensor
  • iOS 5.1
  • 30-pin dock connector port
  • 3.5 mm stereo headphone minijack
  • Built in speaker
  • Microphone
  • Micro-SIM card tray
  • Weight: 662 g
  • Retina display
  • 9.7 inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen multi-touch with IPS tech
  • 2048×1536 screen resolution
  • Finger print resistant

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 – The Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 is featured with Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor. This processor has given this tablet great performance and graphics. The table currently runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but it is upgradable to 4.0.1. At price of $499 with 32GB of storage and $599 with 64GB storage, it is amongst the affordable tablet computers.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 specs and features: –

  • Android 4.0 Operating system
  • 10.1 inch LED Backlight WXGA 1280×800 Screen Super IPS+
  • Ten finger multi-touch support
  • Corning gorilla glass
  • NVIDIA Tegra Quad-Core CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 32 GB/64 GB storage
  • Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
  • 1.2 MP front Camera
  • 8 MP rear camera with flash and auto focus
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Microphone
  • Weight: 586 g

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi – Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi, with Android 3.1 operating System and 16 GB storage comes with a price tag of $499. Amongst the Android tablets, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 wins the design challenge. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is extremely light and it can easily be held in one hand. There is also a smaller version of this tablet called as Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 specs and features:-

  • Android 3.1 Operating System
  • Display: 10.1 inch 1280×800 WXGA TFT LCD
  • 1 GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • 2 MP front camera
  • 3 MP rear camera with LED flash
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • Weight: 565 g

Toshiba Thrive 16 GB – Toshiba Thrive is comparatively big but it is still giving the rest of the tablets a run for their money. This is due to Toshiba Thrive’s set of ports that include SD Card Slot, plus Mini-USB 2.0 port, USB 2.0 port, 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack and Full size HDMI port. Toshiba Thrive 32 GB with 4G HSPA+, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth version 2.1 comes for a price tag of $559.

Toshiba Thrive Specifications: –

  • Android 3.2 operating system
  • Display: 10.1 inch LED Backlit Multi-touch
  • Screen Resolution: 1280×800
  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce Graphics
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 32 GB/16 GB/8 GB storage
  • 2 MP front camera with Microphone
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • HDMI port
  • Mini USB 2.0
  • USB 2.0
  • SD card slot
  • 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
  • 4G HSPA+
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Weight: 726 g

Sony Tablet S – Sony Tablet S is a beautifully designed tablet by Sony. This 9.4 inch tablet is not different from any other tablet out there if you consider its specifications but the design of Tablet S is what separates it from the rest. For 16 GB storage it comes with a price tag of $500 and $100 more for a 32 GB.

Sony Tablet S Specifications: –

  • Android v3.2 OS (upgradeable to 4.0)
  • Nvidia Tegra 2 T20
  • Dual Core 1 GHz Cortex-A9
  • 3G
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Micro USB 2.0
  • 5 MP camera
  • 32 GB/16 GB
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Display: 9.4 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen 800×1280
  • Weight: 625 g

Here are some of the best tablet computers available: –

  • Apple iPad 2
  • Sony Tablet P
  • Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
  • Motorola Xoom 2



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