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Whither the Tablet?

The concept of computing on a tablet form has been around since at least the late 1800s, but the modern tablet did not come into being until Microsoft attempted its Microsoft Tablet PC initiative. The Microsoft Tablet PC took the Windows Operating System and applied it to a slate form with a stylus for input, replacing the traditional mouse. This initiative by Microsoft failed to gain traction and the idea of a tablet computer remained restricted to a few professional fields. It was not until 2010 that tablets saw adoption by the mainstream market.

Apple’s Latest Revolution: The Tablet

It was April of 2010 when Apple unveiled what many technology bloggers had long suspected: the iPad. The iPad was Apple’s first attempt since the failed Newton at a tablet computer. Designed with capacitive screens in mind, rather than the resistive screens that were used in the past, the iPad was revolutionary. Famously declaring that styli were relics of the past, Steve Jobs introduced a tablet designed around the finger as the main point of input. This followed the example set by the iPhone and was different in that it was the first tablet that truly understood what it meant to bring computing to the tablet form.

Unlike Microsoft Tablet PCs that did nothing to convert what began as a mouse-driven experience, the iPad built the experience from the ground up. The screen was capacitive, a technology that suits the finger-driven experience Apple is fond of, but at the cost of accurate styli. This leads to a more natural interaction with the tablet. Icons became larger, compensating for the loss of accuracy. The operating system made use of gestures for navigating rather than clicks. These lessons were not lost on other companies, who quickly began to follow suit with their own products.

Tablets: The Future of Computing

As a result of the tablet’s new found popularity, many technology pundits have claimed that tablets are the future of computing, eventually replacing desktops as the main form factor. While that remains to be seen, it is clear that tablets have carved out its own significant niche in the market and gained much traction. Today, tablets are seen as viable laptop replacements, especially with the right accessories. Currently, tablets are seen as companions to desktops or laptops. They are regarded as devices for consumption, rather than creation. However, many companies are predicting a change in the foreseeable future.

The success of the Asus Transformer demonstrated that there was demand for a tablet that could also double as a laptop. It was not as powerful as a laptop, but Asus believes the concept could eventually replace the laptop. Its Asus Transformer Prime is a further evolution of this concept.

Microsoft also believes that tablets could one day become more than companion devices. Two of its products, Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface, are based around this idea. Windows 8 is a combination of the mobile and non-mobile computing paradigms. It offers both a desktop mode and a mobile mode, allowing a seamless switch between the two depending on the situation. Microsoft Surface is a physical product in development that will take advantage of this by allowing a clip-on keyboard, further blurring the lines between tablets and traditional laptops.

A New, Exciting Product

Tablets today are available in many different flavors. Consumers can pick between iOS, Android, Windows 7, and some more obscure operating systems. Storage typically ranges from 8GB up to 64GB. Prices are even more wide-ranging, with cheap tablets around $100 and more expensive, powerful ones around $800. It’s an exciting time for the tablet industry and the coming years promise more radical changes as manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and what is not.

Author Bio:- This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at First to know.

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