Bydefinition, a tablet computer (more commonly called a tablet), is a portable PC(personal computer) that is very similar to an actual PC. Its design is farmore simple compared to PC.
The tablet is usually quite smaller compared to thescreen of a modern day computer. Unlike the computer, the early design of tabletsdid not have many ports such as the HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)port and USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports. Also, tablets do not have any inputdevices such as trackpads, keyboards, and mouses. Alternatively, it has a touchscreendisplay that supports multi-touch, which means that it accepts gestures made byour fingers or a stylus as input. It accepts text via a virtual keyboard thatappears on the screen. Contraryto popular belief, the first tablet computer was not the Apple IPad thatreleased in early 2010.
Many manufacturers had been experimenting on differentvariations of a keyboardless mobile computer for years before the actual devicewould be mass-produced for the public. Animaginative computer scientist by the name of Alan Kay proposed a conceptcalled the Dynabook in 1972. It featured ideas about a personal computingdevice that weighed very light (2-3 pounds), was thin in size and had a rectangularshape. It had a display that could hold a million pixels, and it had a nearlyunlimited power supply. It also included a stylus as an input device.
In thosedays, this proposal was of course very far-fetched and unimaginable. TheGRidPad, the first tablet computer mass-produced and sold to people debuteddecades later as a product of Grid Systems. It’s release in 1989 wasmind-blowing compared to graphic tablets that were sort of like input devicesthat allowed people to draw and animate through a stylus. The GRidPad was notexactly what Alan Kay envisioned when he published his proposal. It weighedabout 4 pounds and was rather thick compared to his sketch. The pixels of theGRidPad were only a quarter of the million pixels he thought of. Despite this,many large companies and government agencies bought it in mass. The productsold at $3,000 per unit and in its most successful year, made a total of $30 million.
In2002, Microsoft released the Windows XP Tablet that was introduced at the 2001Comdex technology trade show. Founder Bill Gates said that tablets were the futureand made a prediction that tablet computers would be the most popular form ofcomputers in five years. It ultimately flopped because of a compatibility issuethat arose as it tried to apply the Windows OS that was mainly made for a computerwith a keyboard on a touchscreen device.
This issue caused the user experienceto be unsatisfactory. Almosta decade later, Apple introduced their own tablet PC to the world. People werealready accustomed to touchscreens where you make gestures with your fingers toscroll, zoom in, zoom out, and tap on applications to use them through the releaseof their IPhone. The iPad, as they called it, was thin, light and had acompetent power supply that could last for hours. At the time of release, Apple’soperating system was stable, reliable, and user-friendly at iOS 3.2. Muchlike the iPhone, the iPad received a massive reception from the public and sold300,000 units on its first day in stores. It was said that thousands of peoplequeued for hours in front of Apple retail stores worldwide to buy the product.
Prior to the release of the iPad 2, it was discovered that Apple sold 15million iPads, which was more than the total number of tablet PCs sold beforethe iPad combined. Nearing the end of 2010, 75% of tablet PC sales were thesegame-changing devices. Sincethen, many more companies have manufactured and released tablet PC lines suchas the Samsung Galaxy Tab series, the iPad series, the Google Nexus series, theMicrosoft Tablet PC series, and many more. Tablet PCs are becoming more andmore advanced and popular among consumers. The differences between tablets and notebooksare lessening as we progress into the future. Today,tablets have become the among the best, if not the first choice for businessand personal uses alike.
Most families have at least one tablet at home thatthey share among themselves. People of all ages use tablets to play mobilegames, read e-books, watch videos and documentaries, surf the web, and catch upon the news. In my opinion, the reason tablets are as popular as they are, isbecause they are much more light and portable than the average laptop. Somemight say that smartphones are even more light and portable and following thatlogic, are smartphones not better than tablets? Well, unlike smartphones,tablets have a much larger display and they are easier on the eyes. I predictthat in a few years, tablets will have higher sales than smartphones mainlybecause they are so much better in terms of usability and productivity. Ibelieve that in the future, tablets will offer even more features and improvementsthat will surely leave us speechless.
Day by day, developers are trying out newways to improve tablets. As of now, tablets even have micro USB ports, HDMIports, keyboard adapters, and much more. Maybe in the future, even textbookswill be replaced by tablets for education purposes.
In conclusion, tablet PCshave come a long way, and they will continue advancing. As consumers, our taskis to purchase and give feedback to developers when they unveil their new creations.Technology is progressing, and we must progress with it. The days where tabletPCs are non-essential are numbered.