What Is a Tablet PC?


Quick Answer

A tablet PC is a portable handheld computer operated by a touchscreen. Tablets are designed to bridge the performance gap between smartphones and laptops. Most models are slim, lightweight and easy to carry, and they have processors that can handle programs similar to the software used on laptops.

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Full Answer

As its name suggests, a basic tablet has a flat, rectangular shape that resembles a slate. The display size typically ranges between 7 and 14 inches. Slate-style tablets have onscreen keyboards with touch controls, or users can purchase styluses to operate their devices without direct hand contact. Users who prefer traditional typing can buy tablets that accommodate keyboard attachments. For the most flexible option, a convertible model has a laptop-style setup that transforms into a tablet by rotating or flipping the hinged display.

Common tablet models include iPads, Android tablets and Windows tablets. While iPads and Windows tablets are produced by specific manufacturers, Apple and Microsoft, Android-based tablets are created by a variety of manufacturers that alter the software to create custom interfaces.

Tablets are Internet-ready for mobile networking, so all devices are equipped with Wi-Fi, 3G broadband, 4G broadband or a combination of wireless formats. Users increase the functionality of their individual devices by loading compatible applications. Applications allow users to create and edit documents and photos, play games, browse the Internet, watch movies, read e-books, and visit social networking sites.

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