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A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a
mobile device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known a ...
, typically with a
mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems like macOS ...
and
touchscreen A touchscreen or touch screen is the assembly of both an input ('touch panel') and output ('display') device. The touch panel is normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an Information processor, information processing system ...

touchscreen
display processing
circuitry 200px, A circuit built on a printed circuit board (PCB). An electronic circuit is composed of individual electronic component An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect elec ...
, and a
rechargeable battery A rechargeable battery, storage battery, or secondary cell, (or archaically accumulator) is a type of electrical battery A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cell An electrochemical cell is a device capable ...
in a single, thin and flat package. Tablets, being computers, do what other personal computers do, but lack some
input/output In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algorithm) for calculating the greatest commo ...
(I/O) abilities that others have. Modern tablets largely resemble modern
smartphone A smartphone is a Mobile device, portable device that combines Mobile phone, mobile telephone and Mobile computing, computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and exten ...

smartphone
s, the only differences being that tablets are relatively larger than smartphones, with screens or larger, measured diagonally, and may not support access to a
cellular network A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network A telecommunications network is a group of nodes In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a Vertex (graph theory), vertex). Node may re ...
. The touchscreen display is operated by
gestures A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and body ...

gestures
executed by finger or
digital pen A digital pen is an input device which captures the handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves ...
(stylus), instead of the
mouse A mouse, plural mice, is a small mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which ...

mouse
,
touchpad A touchpad or trackpad is a pointing device featuring a tactile sensor, a specialized surface that can translate the motion and position of a user's fingers to a relative position on the operating system that is made output to the screen. Touchpa ...

touchpad
, and keyboard of larger computers. Portable computers can be classified according to the presence and appearance of physical keyboards. Two species of tablet, the ''slate'' and ''booklet'', do not have physical keyboards and usually accept text and other input by use of a
virtual keyboard A virtual keyboard is a software component that allows the input of characters without the need for physical keys. The interaction with the virtual keyboard happens mostly via a touchscreen interface, but can also take place in a different form ...

virtual keyboard
shown on their touchscreen displays. To compensate for their lack of a physical keyboard, most tablets can connect to independent physical keyboards by
Bluetooth Bluetooth is a short-range wireless Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the telecommunication, transfer of information between two or more points that do not use an electrical conductor as a medium by which ...

Bluetooth
or
USB Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard ''Industry Standard'' is a 1982 album by Dixie Dregs, The Dregs. It is their only album featuring vocals (by Alex Ligertwood of Santana (band), Santana and Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brot ...

USB
; 2-in-1 PCs have keyboards, distinct from tablets. The form of the tablet was conceptualized in the middle of the 20th century (
Stanley Kubrick Stanley Kubrick (; July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and photographer. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest filmmakers Filmmaking (or, in any context, film production) is ...
depicted fictional tablets in the 1968 science fiction film '' A Space Odyssey'') and prototyped and developed in the last two decades of that century. In 2010,
Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, wher ...
released the
iPad iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., which run the iOS and iPadOS mobile operating systems. The iPad (1st generation), first iPad was released on April 3, 2010; the most recent iPad models ar ...
, the first mass-market tablet to achieve widespread popularity. Thereafter, tablets rapidly rose in ubiquity and soon became a large product category used for personal, educational and workplace applications, with sales stabilizing in the mid-2010s. Popular uses for a tablet PC include viewing presentations, video-conferencing, reading e-books, watching movies, sharing photos and more. The market for tablets is split pretty evenly between Apple's iPad and Android tablets, with iPads a bit more popular globally, still virtually all countries use Android tablets more. Some countries favor one or the other to a large degree, while often the split is mostly even.


History

The tablet computer and its associated operating system began with the development of
pen computing Pen computing refers to any computer user-interface using a pen or stylus A stylus (plural styli or styluses) is a writing utensil A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing. Writing consists of different f ...
. Electrical devices with data input and output on a flat information display existed as early as 1888 with the
telautograph An early telautograph The telautograph, an analog precursor to the modern fax machine, transmits electrical impulses recorded by potentiometers at the sending station to servomechanisms attached to a pen at the receiving station, thus reproducing a ...
, which used a sheet of paper as display and a pen attached to
electromechanical In engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad ran ...
actuatorAn actuator is a component of a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), power to apply For ...

actuator
s. Throughout the 20th century devices with these characteristics have been imagined and created whether as
blueprint A blueprint is a reproduction of a technical drawing or engineering drawing using a contact print process on light-sensitive sheets. Introduced by Sir John Herschel in 1842, the process allowed rapid and accurate production of an unlimited numbe ...

blueprint
s,
prototype A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") ...

prototype
s, or
commercial product In marketing, a product is an object or system made available for consumer use; it is anything that can be offered to a market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Ge ...
s. In addition to many academic and research systems, several companies released commercial products in the 1980s, with various input/output types tried out. The development of the tablet computer was enabled by several key technological advances. The rapid scaling and miniaturization of
MOSFET The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS transistor, or MOS), is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor that is fabricated by th ...

MOSFET
transistor technology (
Moore's law Moore's law is the observation that Transistor count, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years. Moore's law is an observation and Forecasting, projection of a historical trend. Rather than a ph ...
), the basic building block of
mobile devices A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets ...
and
computing device A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as programs. These programs enable computers to perform a ...
s, made it possible to build portable
smart devices A smart device is an electronics, electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, Near field communication, NFC, Wi-Fi, LiFi, 5G, etc., that can operate to some extent ...
such as tablet computers. Another important enabling factor was the
lithium-ion battery A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery A rechargeable battery, storage battery, or secondary cell, (or archaically accumulator) is a type of electrical battery A battery is a device consisting of o ...
, an indispensable
energy source Energy development is the field of activities focused on obtaining sources of energy from natural resources. These activities include production of conventional, alternative and renewable sources of energy, and for the recovery and reuse of en ...

energy source
for tablets, commercialized by
Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from mult ...

Sony
and
Asahi Kasei is a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign state that comp ...
in 1991.


Fictional and prototype tablets

Tablet computers appeared in a number of works of science fiction in the second half of the 20th century; all helped to promote and disseminate the concept to a wider audience. Examples include: *
Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov (; 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and A ...
described a Calculator Pad in his novel ''
Foundation Foundation may refer to: * Foundation (nonprofit), a type of charitable organization ** Foundation (United States law), a type of charitable organization in the U.S. ** Private foundation, a charitable organization that, while serving a good cause, ...
'' (1951) * described the Opton in his novel '' Return from the Stars'' (1961) * Numerous similar devices were depicted in
Gene Roddenberry Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter A screenplay writer (also called screenwriter for short), scriptwriter or scenarist, is a writer who practices the craft of screenwri ...
's '' Star Trek: The Original Series'' (1968) *
Arthur C. Clarke Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 191719 March 2008) was an English list of science-fiction authors, science-fiction writer, science writer, futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He co-wrote the screenplay f ...
's newspad was depicted in
Stanley Kubrick Stanley Kubrick (; July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and photographer. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest filmmakers Filmmaking (or, in any context, film production) is ...
's film '' 2001: A Space Odyssey'' (1968) *
Douglas Adams Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams was author of ''The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'', which originated in 1978 as The Hitchhiker's Guide ...
described a tablet computer in ''
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ''The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'' (sometimes referred to as ''HG2G'', ''HHGTTG'', ''H2G2'', or ''tHGttG'') is a comedy science fiction franchise created by Douglas Adams. Originally a 1978 radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 ...
'' and the associated (1978) * The science fiction TV series '' Star Trek: The Next Generation'' featured tablet computers which were designated as
PADD In the ''Star Trek ''Star Trek'' is an American science fiction media franchise originating from the 1960s television program, television series ''Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek'', created by Gene Roddenberry. That series, now of ...
s, notable for (as with most computers in the show) using a touchscreen interface, both with and without a stylus (1987) * A device more powerful than today's tablets appeared briefly in ''
The Mote in God's Eye ''The Mote in God's Eye'' is a science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi ...
'' (1974) * The
Star Wars ''Star Wars'' is an American epic film, epic space opera multimedia franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the Star Wars (film), eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide popular culture, pop-culture Cultural impact of S ...

Star Wars
franchise features ''datapads'', first described in print in the 1991 novel ''
Heir to the Empire Grand Admiral Thrawn (native name: Mitth'raw'nuruodo; birth name: Kivu'raw'nuru) is a fictional character in the ''Star Wars'' franchise. Introduced in the 1991 Timothy Zahn novel ''Heir to the Empire'', he is an Imperial military commander who ha ...
'', and depicted on screen in the 1999 feature film, '' Star Wars: The Phantom Menace'' Further, real-life projects either proposed or created tablet computers, such as: * In 1968, computer scientist
Alan Kay Alan Curtis Kay (born May 17, 1940) published by the Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, sch ...

Alan Kay
envisioned a KiddiComp; he developed and described the concept as a
Dynabook The KiddiComp concept, envisioned by Alan Kay Alan Curtis Kay (born May 17, 1940) published by the Association for Computing Machinery 2012 is an American computer scientist. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Scie ...
in his proposal, ''A personal computer for children of all ages'' (1972), which outlines functionality similar to that supplied via a laptop computer, or (in some of its other incarnations) a tablet or slate computer, with the exception of near eternal battery life. The
target audience A target audience is the intended audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic Aesthet ...
was children. * In 1979, the idea of a
touchscreen A touchscreen or touch screen is the assembly of both an input ('touch panel') and output ('display') device. The touch panel is normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an Information processor, information processing system ...

touchscreen
tablet that could detect an external force applied to one point on the screen was patented in Japan by a team at
Hitachi () is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign ...

Hitachi
consisting of Masao Hotta, Yoshikazu Miyamoto, Norio Yokozawa and Yoshimitsu Oshima, who later received a US patent for their idea. * In 1992,
Atari Atari () is a brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive Atari Interactive is a name used by several separate groups and corporations since the mid-1990s. In 1996, it was the name of Ata ...

Atari
showed developers the Stylus, later renamed ST-Pad. The ST-Pad was based on the TOS/GEM
Atari ST The Atari ST is a line of home computer Home computers were a class of s that entered the market in 1977 and became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, we ...
platform and prototyped early
handwriting recognition Handwriting recognition (HWR), also known as Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR), is the ability of a computer to receive and interpret intelligible handwritten input from sources such as paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mecha ...
. Shiraz Shivji's company ''Momentus'' demonstrated in the same time a failed x86
MS-DOS MS-DOS ( ; acronym for Microsoft Disk Operating System, also known as Microsoft DOS) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Example ...
based Pen Computer with its own
graphical user interface The graphical user interface (GUI "UI" by itself is still usually pronounced . or ) is a form of user interface In the industrial design Industrial design is a process of design A design is a plan or specification for the construction ...
(GUI). * In 1994, the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
initiated the NewsPad project, inspired by Clarke and Kubrick's fictional work.
Acorn Computers Acorn Computers Ltd. was a British computer company established in Cambridge, England, in 1978. The company produced a number of computers which were especially popular in the United Kingdom, UK, including the Acorn Electron and the Acorn Archim ...
developed and delivered an
ARM In human anatomy, the arm is the part of the upper limb The upper Limb (anatomy), limbs or upper extremities are the forelimbs of an upright posture, upright-postured tetrapod vertebrate, extending from the scapulae and clavicles down to and incl ...
-based touch screen tablet computer for this program, branding it the "NewsPad"; the project ended in 1997. * During the November 2000 COMDEX,
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
used the term Tablet PC to describe a prototype handheld device they were demonstrating. * In 2001,
Ericsson Mobile Communications Ericsson Mobile Communications AB was a subsidiary of Ericsson (lit. ''Telephone Stock Company of LM Ericsson''), commonly known as Ericsson, is a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company headquartered in Stockholm ...
announced an experimental product named the DelphiPad, which was developed in cooperation with the Centre for Wireless Communications in Singapore, with a touch-sensitive screen,
Netscape Navigator Netscape Navigator was a proprietary web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World ...
as a
web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a User (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web ...

web browser
, and
Linux Linux ( or ) is a family of open-source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product ...

Linux
as its
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems (OS) like macOS, Linux, Android (operating system), Android and Mi ...

operating system
.


Early tablets

Following earlier tablet computer products such as the
Pencept Pencept, Inc. was one of a small number of pioneering companies in the 1980s developing and marketing technology known as pen computing. Pencept was noted primarily for the robustness (for the time) of the handwriting and gesture recognition algo ...
PenPad, and the CIC Handwriter, in September 1989,
GRiD Systems GRiD Systems Corporation was founded in late 1979 by John Ellenby, who left his job at Xerox Parc and joined Glenn Edens, Dave Paulsen and Bill Moggridge to form one of Silicon Valley's first Stealth startup, stealth companies. The company went pub ...
released the first commercially successful tablet computer, the
GRiDPad GRiDPad was a trademarked name for a series of pen computing tablets built by GRiD Systems Corporation. The GRiDPad 1900, released in 1989, is regarded as the first commercially successful tablet computer. Jeff Hawkins went on to use the GRiDPa ...
. All three products were based on extended versions of the
MS-DOS MS-DOS ( ; acronym for Microsoft Disk Operating System, also known as Microsoft DOS) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Example ...
operating system. In 1992, IBM announced (in April) and shipped to developers (in October) the ThinkPad 700T (2521), which ran the
GO Corporation GO Corporation was founded in 1987 to create portable computers, an operating system, and software with a pen-based user interface. It was famous not only for its pioneering work in Pen-based computing but as well as being one of the most well-f ...
's
PenPoint OS The PenPoint OS was a product of GO Corporation and was one of the earliest operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, computer software, software resources, and provides common daemon (computi ...
. Also based on PenPoint was AT&T's
EO Personal Communicator The EO is an early commercial tablet computer that was created by Eo, Inc. (later acquired by AT&T Corporation), and released in April 1993. Eo (Latin for "I go") was the hardware spin-out of GO. Officially named the AT&T EO Personal Communicato ...
from 1993, which ran on AT&T's own hardware, including their own
AT&T Hobbit The AT&T Hobbit is a microprocessor A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits. The microprocessor contains the ar ...
CPU. Apple Computer launched the
Apple Newton The Newton is a series of personal digital assistants (PDAs) developed and marketed by Apple Computer, Inc. An early device in the PDA category (the Newton originated the term), it was the first to feature handwriting recognition. Apple starte ...

Apple Newton
personal digital assistant in 1993. It used Apple's own new
Newton OS ''Newton OS'' is a discontinued operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, computer software, software resources, and provides common daemon (computing), services for computer programs. Time-sh ...
, initially running on hardware manufactured by Motorola and incorporating an
ARM In human anatomy, the arm is the part of the upper limb The upper Limb (anatomy), limbs or upper extremities are the forelimbs of an upright posture, upright-postured tetrapod vertebrate, extending from the scapulae and clavicles down to and incl ...
CPU, that Apple had specifically co-developed with
Acorn Computers Acorn Computers Ltd. was a British computer company established in Cambridge, England, in 1978. The company produced a number of computers which were especially popular in the United Kingdom, UK, including the Acorn Electron and the Acorn Archim ...
. The operating system and platform design were later licensed to
Sharp Sharp or SHARP may refer to: Short for *Self Help Addiction Recovery Program, a charitable organisation founded in 1991 by Barbara Bach and Pattie Boyd *Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention, a US Army program dealing with sexual ha ...
and
Digital Ocean Digital Ocean, Inc., was a maker of wireless products from 1992 to 1998. The company was founded in May 1992 by Jeffery Alholm and headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas. Several contracts with Apple Inc., AT&T, Aironet Wireless Communications (later ac ...
, who went on to manufacture their own variants.
Pen computing Pen computing refers to any computer user-interface using a pen or stylus A stylus (plural styli or styluses) is a writing utensil A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing. Writing consists of different f ...
was highly hyped by the media during the early 1990s.
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
, the dominant PC software vendor, released
Windows for Pen Computing Windows for Pen Computing is a software suite for Windows 3.1x, that Microsoft designed to incorporate pen computing capabilities into the Windows Operating environment#Computing, operating environment. Windows for Pen Computing was the second majo ...
in 1992 to compete against PenPoint OS. The company launched the WinPad project, working together with OEMs such as
Compaq Compaq (a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "portmanteau (luggage) A portmanteau is a piece of luggage Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and containers which hold a travel Travel is the movement ...

Compaq
, to create a small device with a
Windows Microsoft Windows, commonly referred to as Windows, is a group of several proprietary {{Short pages monitor Intel tablet chip sales were 1 million units in 2012, and 12 million units in 2013. Intel chairman Andy Bryant has stated that its 2014 goal is to quadruple its tablet chip sales to 40 million units by the end of that year, as an investment for 2015.


Display

A key component among tablet computers is touch input on a
touchscreen A touchscreen or touch screen is the assembly of both an input ('touch panel') and output ('display') device. The touch panel is normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an Information processor, information processing system ...

touchscreen
display. This allows the user to navigate easily and type with a
virtual keyboard A virtual keyboard is a software component that allows the input of characters without the need for physical keys. The interaction with the virtual keyboard happens mostly via a touchscreen interface, but can also take place in a different form ...

virtual keyboard
on the screen or press other icons on the screen to open apps or files. The first tablet to do this was the
GRiDPad GRiDPad was a trademarked name for a series of pen computing tablets built by GRiD Systems Corporation. The GRiDPad 1900, released in 1989, is regarded as the first commercially successful tablet computer. Jeff Hawkins went on to use the GRiDPa ...
by GRiD Systems Corporation; the tablet featured both a stylus, a pen-like tool to aid with precision in a touchscreen device as well as an on-screen keyboard.Jeff Hawkins: The system must respond to on-screen touches rather than clicks of a keyboard or mouse. This operation makes precise use of our eye–hand coordination. Touchscreens usually come in one of two forms: * Resistive touchscreens are passive and respond to pressure on the screen. They allow a high level of Accuracy and precision, precision, useful in emulating a pointer (computing WIMP), pointer (as is common in tablet computers) but may require calibration. Because of the high resolution, a stylus or fingernail is often used. Stylus-oriented systems are less suited to multi-touch. * capacitive sensing, Capacitive touchscreens tend to be less accurate, but more responsive than resistive devices. Because they require a conductive material, such as a fingertip, for input, they are not common among stylus-oriented devices but are prominent on consumer devices. Most finger-driven capacitive screens do not currently support pressure input (except for the iPhone 6S and later models), but some tablets use a pressure-sensitive stylus or active pen. * Some tablets can recognize individual palms, while some professional-grade tablets use pressure-sensitive films, such as those on graphics tablets. Some capacitive touch-screens can detect the size of the touched area and the pressure used.Buxton, Bill
Multitouch Overview
Since mid-2010s, most tablets use capacitive sensing, capacitive
touchscreen A touchscreen or touch screen is the assembly of both an input ('touch panel') and output ('display') device. The touch panel is normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an Information processor, information processing system ...

touchscreen
s with multi-touch, unlike earlier resistive touchscreen devices which users needed styluses to perform inputs. There are also electronic paper tablets such as Sony Digital Paper DPTS1 and reMarkable that use E ink for its display technology.


Handwriting recognition

Many tablets support a stylus and support
handwriting recognition Handwriting recognition (HWR), also known as Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR), is the ability of a computer to receive and interpret intelligible handwritten input from sources such as paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mecha ...
. Wacom (company), Wacom and N-trig digital pens provide approximately 2500 DPI resolution for handwriting, exceeding the resolution of capacitive touch screens by more than a factor of 10. These pens also support pressure sensitivity, allowing for "variable-width stroke-based" characters, such as Chinese/Japanese/Korean writing, due to their built-in capability of "pressure sensing". Pressure is also used in digital art applications such as Autodesk Sketchbook. Apps exist on both iOS and Android platforms for handwriting recognition and in 2015 Google introduced its own handwriting input with support for 82 languages.


Other features

After 2007, with access to capacitive screens and the success of the iPhone, other features became common, such as multi-touch features (in which the user can touch the screen in multiple places to trigger actions and other natural user interface features, as well as flash memory solid state storage and "instant on" Warm boot, warm-booting; external
USB Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard ''Industry Standard'' is a 1982 album by Dixie Dregs, The Dregs. It is their only album featuring vocals (by Alex Ligertwood of Santana (band), Santana and Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brot ...

USB
and
Bluetooth Bluetooth is a short-range wireless Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the telecommunication, transfer of information between two or more points that do not use an electrical conductor as a medium by which ...

Bluetooth
Computer keyboard, keyboards defined tablets. Most tablets released since mid-2010 use a version of an
ARM In human anatomy, the arm is the part of the upper limb The upper Limb (anatomy), limbs or upper extremities are the forelimbs of an upright posture, upright-postured tetrapod vertebrate, extending from the scapulae and clavicles down to and incl ...
processor for longer battery life. The ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore, ARM Cortex family is powerful enough for tasks such as Mobile browser, internet browsing, light creative and production work and mobile games.The Coming War: ARM versus x86
Mirror for: ''The Bright Side of News'' April 8, 2010
Other features are: High-definition, Glossy display, anti-glare display, touchscreen, lower weight and longer Battery (electricity)#battery lifetime, battery life than a comparably-sized laptop, wireless local area and internet connectivity (usually with Wi-Fi standard and optional mobile broadband),
Bluetooth Bluetooth is a short-range wireless Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the telecommunication, transfer of information between two or more points that do not use an electrical conductor as a medium by which ...

Bluetooth
for connecting peripherals and communicating with local devices, ports for wired connections and charging, for example USB ports, Early devices had IR support and could work as a TV remote controller, docking station, keyboard and added connectivity, on-board flash memory, ports for removable storage, various cloud storage services for backup and file synchronization, syncing data across devices, local storage on a local area network (LAN). * Speech recognition Google introduced voice input in Android 2.1 in 2009 and Google Voice Search, voice actions in 2.2 in 2010, with up to five languages (now around 40). Siri was introduced as a system-wide personal assistant on the iPhone 4S in 2011 and now supports nearly 20 languages. In both cases, the voice input is sent to central servers to perform general speech recognition and thus requires a network connection for more than simple commands. * Near field communication with other compatible devices including ISO/IEC 14443 RFID tags.


Software


Operating system

Tablets, like conventional PCs, use several different
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems (OS) like macOS, Linux, Android (operating system), Android and Mi ...

operating system
s, though multi boot, dual-booting is rare. Tablet operating systems come in two classes: * Desktop computer operating system * Mobile operating system Desktop OS-based tablets are currently thicker and heavier. They require more storage and CPU power dissipation, more cooling and give less battery life. They can run processor-intensive graphical applications in addition to mobile apps, and have more Computer port (hardware), ports. Mobile-based tablets are the reverse, and run only mobile apps. They can use battery life conservatively because the processor is significantly smaller. This allows the battery to last much longer than the common laptop. In Q1 2018, Android tablets had 62% of the market, Apple's iOS had 23.4% of the market and Windows 10 had 14.6% of the market. In late 2021, iOS has 55% use worldwide (varies by continent, e.g. below 50% in South America and Africa) and Android 45% use. Still, Android tablets have more use than iOS in virtually all countries, except for e.g. the US and China.


Android

Android is a
Linux Linux ( or ) is a family of open-source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product ...

Linux
-based mobile operating system, operating system that Google offers as Open-source software, open source under the Apache license. It is designed primarily for mobile devices such as
smartphone A smartphone is a Mobile device, portable device that combines Mobile phone, mobile telephone and Mobile computing, computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and exten ...

smartphone
s and tablet computers. Android supports low-cost
ARM In human anatomy, the arm is the part of the upper limb The upper Limb (anatomy), limbs or upper extremities are the forelimbs of an upright posture, upright-postured tetrapod vertebrate, extending from the scapulae and clavicles down to and incl ...
systems and others. The first tablets running Android were released in 2009. Vendors such as Motorola and Lenovo delayed deployment of their tablets until after 2011, when Android was reworked to include more tablet features. Android Honeycomb, Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), released in 2011 and later versions support larger screen sizes, mainly tablets, and have access to the Google Play service. Android includes operating system, middleware and key applications. Other vendors sell customized Android tablets, such as Kindle Fire and Nook, which are used to consume mobile content and provide their own app store, rather than using the larger Google Play system, thereby fragmenting the Android market.


Chrome OS

Several devices that run Chrome OS came on the market in 2017–2019, as tablets, or as 2-in-1 PC, 2-in-1s with
touchscreen A touchscreen or touch screen is the assembly of both an input ('touch panel') and output ('display') device. The touch panel is normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an Information processor, information processing system ...

touchscreen
and 360-degree hinge.


iPadOS

The iPad runs on iPadOS. Prior to the introduction of iPadOS in 2019, the iPad ran iOS, which was created for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The first iPad was released in 2010. Although built on the same underlying Unix implementation as macOS, its user interface is radically different. iPadOS is designed for touch input from the user's fingers and has none of the features that required a stylus on earlier tablets. Apple introduced multi-touch gestures, such as moving two fingers apart or together to zoom in or out, also termed ''pinch to zoom''. iPadOS and iOS are built for the ARM architecture.


Windows

Following
Windows for Pen Computing Windows for Pen Computing is a software suite for Windows 3.1x, that Microsoft designed to incorporate pen computing capabilities into the Windows Operating environment#Computing, operating environment. Windows for Pen Computing was the second majo ...
for Windows 3.1 in 1991, Microsoft supported tablets running Windows XP under the Microsoft Tablet PC name. Microsoft Tablet PCs were pen-based, fully functional x86 Personal computer, PCs with handwriting and voice recognition functionality. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition provided pen support. Tablet support was added to both Home and Business versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Tablets running Windows could use the touchscreen for mouse input, hand writing recognition and gesture support. Following Tablet PC, Microsoft announced the Ultra-mobile PC initiative in 2006 which brought Windows tablets to a smaller, touch-centric form factor. In 2008, Microsoft showed a prototype of a two-screen tablet called Microsoft Courier, but cancelled the project. In 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8, which features significant changes to various aspects of the operating system's user interface and platform which are designed for touch-based devices such as tablets. The operating system also introduced an Microsoft Store, application store and a new style of application optimized primarily for use on tablets. Microsoft also introduced Windows RT, an edition of Windows 8 for use on ARM-based devices. The launch of Windows 8 and RT was accompanied by the release of devices with the two operating systems by various manufacturers (including Microsoft themselves, with the release of Microsoft Surface, Surface), such as slate tablets, hybrids, and convertibles. Released in July 2015, Windows 10 introduces what Microsoft described as "universal apps"; expanding on Metro-style apps, these apps can be designed to run across multiple Microsoft product families with nearly identical code‍ – ‌including Personal computer, PCs, tablets,
smartphone A smartphone is a Mobile device, portable device that combines Mobile phone, mobile telephone and Mobile computing, computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and exten ...

smartphone
s, embedded systems, Xbox One, Surface Hub and Windows Holographic. The Windows user interface was revised to handle transitions between a mouse-oriented interface and a
touchscreen A touchscreen or touch screen is the assembly of both an input ('touch panel') and output ('display') device. The touch panel is normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an Information processor, information processing system ...

touchscreen
-optimized interface based on available input devices‍ – ‌particularly on 2-in-1 PCs; both interfaces include an updated Start menu. Windows 10 replaced all earlier editions of Windows.


Hybrid OS operation

Several hardware companies have built hybrid devices with the possibility to work with both Android and Windows Phone operating systems (or in rare cases Windows 8.1, as with the, by now cancelled, Asus Transformer Book Duet), while Ars Technica stated: "dual-OS devices are always terrible products. Windows and Android almost never cross-communicate, so any dual-OS device means dealing with separate apps, data, and storage pools and completely different UI paradigms. So from a consumer perspective, Microsoft and Google are really just saving OEMs from producing tons of clunky devices that no one will want."


Application store

mobile app, Apps that do not come pre-installed with the system are supplied through List of digital distribution platforms for mobile devices, online distribution. These sources, termed ''app stores'', provide centralized catalogs of software and allow "one click" on-device software purchasing, installation and updates. Mobile device suppliers may adopt a walled garden (technology), "walled garden" approach, wherein the supplier controls what software applications ("apps") are available. Software development kits are restricted to approved software developers. This can be used to reduce the impact of malware, provide software with an approved content rating, control application quality and exclude competing vendors. Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble all adopted the strategy. B&N originally allowed arbitrary apps to be installed, but, in December 2011, excluded third parties. Apple and IBM have agreed to cooperate in cross-selling IBM-developed applications for iPads and iPhones in enterprise-level accounts. Proponents of open source software say that the iPad (or such "walled garden" app store approach) violates the spirit of personal control that traditional personal computers have always provided.


Sales

Around 2010, tablet use by businesses jumped, as business began to use them for conferences, events, and trade shows. In 2012, Intel reported that their tablet program improved productivity for about 19,000 of their employees by an average of 57 minutes a day. In October 2012, display screen shipments for tablets began surpassing shipments for laptop display screens. Tablets are increasingly used in the construction industry to look at
blueprint A blueprint is a reproduction of a technical drawing or engineering drawing using a contact print process on light-sensitive sheets. Introduced by Sir John Herschel in 1842, the process allowed rapid and accurate production of an unlimited numbe ...

blueprint
s, field documentation and other relevant information on the device instead of carrying around large amounts of paper. As of the start of 2014, 44% of US online consumers own tablets, a significant jump from 5% in 2011. Tablet use has also become increasingly common among children. A 2014 survey found that mobiles were the most frequently used object for play among American children under the age of 12. Mobiles were used more often in play than video game consoles, board games, puzzles, play vehicles, blocks and dolls/action figures. Despite this, the majority of parents said that a mobile was "never" or only "sometimes" a toy. As of 2014, nearly two-thirds of American 2- to 10-year-olds have access to a tablet or e-reader. The large use of tablets by adults is as a personal internet-connected TV. A 2015 study found that a third of children under five have their own tablet device. By 2017, tablet sales worldwide had surpassed sales of desktop computers, and worldwide PC sales were flat for the first quarter of 2018. 2010 to 2014 figures are estimated by Gartner. 2014 to 2018 figures are estimated by International Data Corporation, IDC.


By manufacturer

Note: Others consists of small vendors with mostly less market share. 2017 and 2018 Data now breaks out Amazon, Huawei, and Lenovo: added into Others for consistency


By operating system

According to a survey conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) now called Digital Content Next (DCN) in March 2012, it found that 72% of tablet owners had an iPad, while 32% had an Android (operating system), Android tablet. By 2012, Android tablet adoption had increased. 52% of tablet owners owned an iPad, while 51% owned an Android-powered tablet (percentages do not add up to 100% because some tablet owners own more than one type). By end of 2013, Android's market share rose to 61.9%, followed by iOS at 36%. By late 2014, Android's market share rose to 72%, followed by iOS at 22.3% and Windows at 5.7%. As of early 2016, Android has 65% marketshare, Apple has 26% and Windows has 9% marketshare. In Q1 2018, Android tablets had 62% of the market, Apple's iOS had 23.4% of the market and Windows 10 had 14.6% of the market.


Use


Sleep

The blue wavelength of light from back-lit tablets may impact one's ability to fall asleep when reading at night, through the suppression of melatonin. Experts at Harvard Medical School suggest limiting tablets for reading use in the evening. Those who have a delayed body clock, such as teenagers, which makes them prone to stay up late in the evening and sleep later in the morning, may be at particular risk for increases in sleep deficiencies. A PC app such as F.lux and Android apps such as CF.lumen and Twilight attempt to decrease the impact on sleep by filtering blue wavelengths from the display. iOS 9.3 includes Night Shift (software), Night Shift that shifts the colors of the device's display to be warmer during the later hours.


By plane

Because of, among other things, electromagnetic waves emitted by this type of device, the use of any type of electronic device during the take-off and landing phases was totally prohibited on board commercial flights. On November 13, 2013, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that the use of mobile terminals could be authorized on the flights of European airlines during these phases from 2014 onwards, on the condition that the cellular functions are deactivated ("airplane" mode activated). In September 2014, EASA issued guidance that allows EU airlines to permit use of tablets, e-readers, smartphones, and other portable electronic devices to stay on without the need to be in airplane mode during all parts of EU flights, however each airline has to decide to allow this behavior. In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration allowed use of portable electronic devices during all parts of flights while in airplane mode in late 2013.


Tourism

Some French historical monuments are equipped with digital tactile tablets called "HistoPad". It is an application integrated with an iPad Mini offering an interaction in augmented and virtual reality with several pieces of the visit, the visitor being able to take control of his or her visit in an interactive and personalized way.


Professional use for specific sectors

Some professionals – for example, in the construction industry, insurance experts, lifeguards or surveyors – use so-called rugged shelf models in the field that can withstand extreme hot or cold shocks or climatic environments. Some units are hardened against drops and screen breakage. Satellite-connectivity-equipped tablets such as the Thorium X, for example, can be used in areas where there is no other connectivity. This is a valuable feature in the aeronautical and military realms. For example, United States Army helicopter pilots are moving to tablets as electronic flight bags, which confer the advantages of rapid, convenient synchronization of large groups of users, and the seamless updating of information. US Army chaplains who are deployed in the field with the troops cite the accessibility of Army regulations, field manuals, and other critical information to help with their services; however power generation, speakers, and a tablet rucksack are also necessary for the chaplains.


See also

* Comparison of tablet computers * History of tablet computers * Lists of mobile computers * Mobile device


References


External links

* {{Authority control American inventions Classes of computers Japanese inventions Tablet computers,