A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a thin, flat mobile computer with a touchscreen display, which in 2016 is usually color, processing circuitry, and a rechargeable battery in a single device. Tablets often come equipped with sensors, including digital cameras, a microphone, and an accelerometer. The touchscreen display uses the recognition of finger or stylus gestures to replace the mouse, trackpad and keyboard used in laptops. They usually feature on-screen, pop-up virtual keyboards for typing and inputting commands.
Tablets may have physical buttons for basic features such as speaker volume and power, and ports for plugging in network communications, headphones and battery charging. Tablets are typically larger than smartphones or personal digital assistants with screens 7 inches (18 cm) or larger, measured diagonally. Tablets have Wi-Fi capability built in so that users can connect to the Internet and can have cellular network capabilities.
Tablets can be classified according to the presence and physical appearance of keyboards. Slates and booklets do not have a physical keyboard and text input and other input is usually entered through the use of a virtual keyboard shown on a touchscreen-enabled display. Hybrids, convertibles and 2-in-1s do have physical keyboards (although these are usually concealable or detachable), yet they typically also make use of virtual keyboards. Most tablets can use separate keyboards connected using Bluetooth.
I really like using my Samsung (005930:KS) tablet. I previously used the Motorola Xoom for a while and liked that.
The format was conceptualized in the mid-20th century (Stanley Kubrick depicted fictional tablets in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey) and prototyped and developed in the last two decades of that century. In April 2010, the iPad was released, which was the first mass-market tablet with finger-friendly multi-touch and a dedicated operating system. In the 2010s, tablets rapidly rose in popularity and ubiquity and became a large product category used for both personal and workplace applications.
The tablet computer and its associated operating system began with the development of pen computing. Electrical devices with data input and output on a flat information display existed as early as 1888 with the telautograph, which used a sheet of paper as display and a pen attached to electromechanical actuators. Throughout the 20th century devices with these characteristics have been imagined and created whether as blueprints, prototypes, or commercial products. In addition to many academic and research systems, several companies released commercial products in the 1980s, with various input/output types tried out: