Tablet PC ( Personal Computer)
A tablet personal computer (Tablet PC) is tablet computer having the main characteristics of a personal computer in the tradition of the Microsoft Tablet PC, as a machine operated by an end-user with no intervening computer operator. A portable tablet PC is equipped with a touchscreen as a primary input device and designed to be operated and owned by an individual. The term was made popular as a concept presented by Microsoft in 2001, but tablet PCs now refer to any tablet-sized personal computer, even if it’s not using Windows but another PC operating system. Tablets may use virtual keyboards and handwriting recognition for text input through the touchscreen.
All tablet personal computers have a wireless adapter for Internet and local network connection. Software applications for tablet PCs include office suites, web browsers, games and a variety of applications. However, since portable computer hardware components usually have lower performance, demanding PC applications may not provide an ideal experience to the user.
According to a study released by the law firm Olswang in early 2011, the tablet market is in an early stage with 3% of Americans owning an iPad and 2% owning some other kind of tablet, with Apple users being more likely to show brand loyalty.
|Quantity of OS market shares by Gartner|
|Apple iOS Q3 2010||95.5%|
|Apple iOS Q4 2010||75.3%|
|Android Q3 2010||2.3%|
|Android Q4 2010||21.6%|
|Others Q3 2010||2.3%|
|Others Q4 2010||3.1%|
Following Windows for Pen Computing, Microsoft has been developing support for tablets running Windows under the Microsoft Tablet PC name. According to a 2001 Microsoft definition of the term, “Microsoft Tablet PCs” are pen-based, fully functional x86 PCs with handwriting and voice recognition functionality. Tablet PCs use the same hardware as normal laptops but add support for pen input. For specialized support for pen input, Microsoft released Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Today there is no tablet specific version of Windows but instead support is built in to both Home and Business versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Tablets running Windows get the added functionality of using the touchscreen for mouse input, hand writing recognition, and gesture support. Following Tablet PC, Microsoft announced the UMPC initiative in 2006 which brought Windows tablets to a smaller, touch-centric form factor. This was relaunched in 2010 as Slate PC, to promote tablets running Windows 7, ahead of Apple’s iPad launch. Slate PCs are expected to benefit from mobile hardware advances derived from the success of the netbooks.
While many tablet manufacturers are moving to the ARM architecture with lighter operating systems, Microsoft has stood firmly by Windows. Though Microsoft has Windows CE for ARM support it has kept its target market for the smartphone industry with Windows Mobile and the new Windows CE 6 based Windows Phone 7. Some manufacturers, however, still have shown prototypes of Windows CE-based tablets running a custom shell.
The succession of Windows Vista has meant that Tablet PC functionality no longer requires a separate edition; with the exception of Home Basic and Starter, Tablet PC support is built into all editions of Windows Vista. This extends the handwriting recognition, ink collection, and additional input methods to any computer running Vista even if the input device is an external digitizer, a touch screen, or even a regular mouse. Vista also supports multi-touch functions and gestures (originally developed for the Microsoft Surface version of Vista) and is now usable by the public with the release of multi-touch tablets. Windows Vista also significantly improved handwriting recognition functionality with the introduction of a handwriting recognition personalization tool as well as an automatic handwriting learning tool.
Tablet functionality is available in all editions of Windows 7 except the Starter edition. It introduces a new Math Input Panel that recognizes handwritten math expressions and formulas, and integrates with other programs. Windows 7 also significantly improved pen input and handwriting recognition by becoming faster, more accurate, and supportive of more languages, including East Asian writing systems. Personalized custom dictionaries help with the recognition of specialized vocabulary (like medical and technical terms), and text prediction speeds up the input process to make note-taking faster. Multi-touch technology is also available on some tablet PCs, enabling more advanced interaction using touch gestures with your fingers the same way a mouse is used. Despite such advances, problems may arise with tablet functions of the OS, when, for instance, touch screen drivers are recognized as PS/2 mouse input rather than a touch input device. In such instances tablet functions may be unavailable or severely restricted in functionality.
Windows 7 touch capability is built with Microsoft Surface technologies. This is a gesture and touch-centric UI enhancement that works with most current touch computers. Among the first tablet PCs launched in 2010 based on the Windows 7 operating system are bModo12 from bModo and Samsung Galaxy. Windows has a history of tablet technology including Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Tablet PC Edition is a superset of Windows XP Professional, the difference being tablet functionality, including alternate text input (Tablet PC Input Panel) and basic drivers for support of tablet PC specific hardware. Requirements to install Tablet PC Edition include a tablet digitizer or touchscreen device, and hardware control buttons including a Ctrl-Alt-Delete shortcut button, scrolling buttons, and at least one user-configurable application button.
Applications developed for the tablet PC cater to the form factor and functionality available on the platform. Many forms of applications incorporate a pen-friendly user interface and/or the ability to hand write directly in the document or interface.
A brief description of the applications included follows:
- Experience Pack
- Ink Desktop: an Active Desktop control designed to run in the background and allow the user to write directly on the desktop.
- Snipping Tool: a screen capture application which allows the tablet pen to be used to select a portion of the screen and then annotate it and save as a file or send in an email.
- Ink Art: a painting application developed by Ambient Design originally as ArtRage, licensed to Microsoft for release to Tablet PC users.
- Ink Crossword: a crossword application developed to mirror the experience of a paper crossword puzzle on a tablet PC.
- Media Transfer: a synchronization utility designed to download music, pictures, and videos from computers in the same network.
- Education Pack
- Ink Flash Cards: an application designed to assist memorization by using a flash card approach, enabling the user to hand write their own flash cards and display them back in a slide show.
- Equation Writer: a recognition tool specializing in converting handwritten mathematical equations to a computer-generated image for pasting into other documents.
- GoBinder Lite: an organization and note-taking application developed by Agilix Labs.
- Hexic Deluxe: a game with a tablet PC specific gesture enabled for easier use with the tablet.
One early implementation of a Linux tablet was the ProGear by FrontPath. The ProGear used a Transmeta chip and a resistive digitizer. The ProGear initially came with a version of Slackware Linux, but could later be bought with Windows 98. Because these computers are general purpose IBM PC compatible machines, they can run many different operating systems. However, the device is no longer for sale and FrontPath has ceased operations. It is important to note that many touch screen sub-notebook computers can run any of several Linux distributions with little customization.
X.org now supports screen rotation and tablet input through Wacom drivers, and handwriting recognition software from both the Qt-based Qtopia and GTK+-based Internet Tablet OS provide promising free and open source systems for future development.
Open source note taking software in Linux includes applications such as Xournal (which supports PDF file annotation), Gournal (a Gnome based note taking application), and the Java-based Jarnal (which supports handwriting recognition as a built-in function). Before the advent of the aforementioned software, many users had to rely on on-screen keyboards and alternative text input methods like Dasher. There is a stand alone handwriting recognition program available, CellWriter, in which users must write letters separately in a grid.
A number of Linux based OS projects are dedicated to tablet PCs. Since all these are open source, they are freely available and can be run or ported to devices that conform to the tablet PC design. Maemo (rebranded MeeGo in 2010), a Debian Linux based graphical user environment, was developed for the Nokia Internet Tablet devices (770, N800, N810 & N900). It is currently in generation 5, and has a vast array of applications available in both official and user supported repositories. The Ubuntu Netbook Remix edition, as well as the Intel sponsored Moblin project, both have touchscreen support integrated into their user interfaces. Canonical has hinted at better supporting tablets with the Unity UI for Ubuntu 10.10.
TabletKiosk currently offers a hybrid digitizer / touch device running openSUSE Linux. It is the first device with this feature to support Linux.
Google’s Linux-based Android operating system has been targeted by manufacturers for the tablet market following its success on smartphones due to its open nature and support for low-cost ARM systems much like Apple’s iOS. In 2010, there have been many announcements of such tablets. In 2010, much of Android’s tablet initiative comes from hardware makers, as Google focused its development mainly on smartphones and restricted the Android Market from non-phone devices. There is talk of tablet support from Google coming to its web-centric Chrome OS. Some vendors such as Motorola are delaying deployment of their tablet computers until 2011, after Android is reworked to include more tablet features. Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is the latest version of the Android platform. It is optimized specifically for devices with larger screen sizes, mainly tablets, and has access to the Android Market. Android is the software stack for mobile devices that includes operating system, middleware and key applications. At present mostly tablet PC using this OS just like Acer Iconia with Iconia Tab A500 which its price lower than Motorola Xoom Price on the market today. Also there is Samsung Galaxy Tab and Latest ASUS Transformer
Nokia entered the tablet space with the Nokia 770 running Maemo, a Debian-based Linux distribution custom-made for their Internet Tablet line. The product line continued with the N900 which is the first to add phone capabilities. Intel, following the launch of the UMPC, started the Mobile Internet Device initiative, which took the same hardware and combined it with a Linux operating system custom-built for portable tablets. Intel co-developed the lightweight Moblin operating system following the successful launch of the Atom CPU series on netbooks.
MeeGo is a new operating system developed by Intel and Nokia supports Netbooks, Smartphones and tablet PCs. In 2010, Nokia and Intel combined the Maemo and Moblin projects to form MeeGo. The first[clarification needed] MeeGo powered tablet PC is the Neofonie WeTab. The WeTab uses an extended version of the MeeGo operating system called WeTab OS. WeTab OS adds runtimes for Android and Adobe AIR and provides a proprietary user interface optimized for the WeTab device.
Mac OS X
Apple has never sold a tablet PC-style computer running Mac OS X, although OS X does have support for handwriting recognition via Inkwell. However, Apple sells the iOS-based iPad, introduced in 2010 and iPad 2, released in 2011.
Before the introduction of the iPad, Axiotron introduced the Modbook, a heavily modified Apple MacBook, Mac OS X-based tablet computer at Macworld in 2007. The Modbook used Apple’s Inkwell handwriting and gesture recognition, and used digitization hardware from Wacom. To support the digitizer on the integrated tablet, the Modbook was supplied with a third-party driver called TabletMagic. Wacom does not provide drivers for this device.
The jailbreaking operation on an Apple iPad allows the end user to gain full software control of the hardware, avoiding the walled garden approach designed by Apple for the product. A jailbroken iPad may be used and administered as a personal computer by its owner. This allows the ability to install arbitrary or self-developed software not approved and signed by Apple, which is the only possibility with regular iPads
Display size trends
As with other portable computers, larger size brings easier usability but less portability and higher power needs.
As of 2011, the usual tablet computer display size is 10″ (for iPad and Android Honeycomb tablets) or 7″ (for many Android 2.x tablets). Many tablet PC makers have standardized on a 12″ widescreen format, with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. The Fujitsu T5010 has a larger 13.3″ display, but still runs at the 1280×800 pixel resolution. The Acer TravelMate C300 has a 14.1″ screen at 1024×768.
April 2011: Sony has announced Honeycomb Android Tablet S2 with dual 5.5-inch screens.
Timeline of tablet PC history
The following timeline list gives some of the highlights of this history:
- Before 1950
- 1888: U.S. Patent granted to Elisha Gray on electrical stylus device for capturing handwriting.
- 1915: U.S. Patent on handwriting recognition user interface with a stylus.
- 1942: U.S. Patent on touchscreen for handwriting input.
- 1945: Vannevar Bush proposes the Memex, a data archiving device including handwriting input, in an essay As We May Think.
- Tom Dimond demonstrates the Styalator electronic tablet with pen for computer input and software for recognition of handwritten text in real-time.
- Early 1960s
- Late 1960s
- The first commercially available tablet-type portable computer was the GRiDPad from GRiD Systems released in September. The GridPad was manufactured by Samsung, modified from the Samsung PenMaster which never made it to commercial distribution. Its operating system was based on MS-DOS.
- Wang Laboratories introduces Freestyle. Freestyle was an application that would do a screen capture from a DOS application, and let users add voice and handwriting annotations. It was a sophisticated predecessor to later note-taking applications for systems like tablet PCs. The operating system was MS-DOS
- In partnership with Fujitsu, the Poqet Computer Corporation announced the arrival of the Poqet PC.
- The Momenta Pentop was released.
- GO Corporation announced a dedicated operating system, called PenPoint OS, featuring control of the operating system desktop via handwritten gesture shapes. Gestures included “flick” gestures in different directions, check-marks, cross-outs, pig-tails, and circular shapes, among others.
- NCR released model 3125 pen computer running MS-DOS, Penpoint OS or Pen Windows.
- The Apple Newton entered development; although it ultimately became a PDA, its original concept (which called for a larger screen and greater sketching abilities) resembled the hardware of a tablet PC.
- Fujitsu releases the Poqet PC the first pen tablet to use an integrated wireless LAN
- Apple Computer announces the Newton PDA, also known as the Apple MessagePad, which includes handwriting recognition with a stylus.
- The IBM releases the ThinkPad, IBM’s first commercialized portable tablet computer product available to the consumer market, as the IBM ThinkPad 750P and 360P
- AT&T introduced the EO Personal Communicator combining PenPoint with wireless communications.
- BellSouth released the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, an analog cellphone using a touch-screen and display. It did not include handwriting recognition, but did permit users to write messages and send them as faxes on the analog cellphone network, and included PDA and Email features.
- ViA, Inc. releases the ViA Tablet PC.
- Axiotron introduces Modbook, the first (and only) tablet computer based on Mac hardware and Mac OS X at Macworld.
- In April 2008, as part of a larger federal court case, the gesture features of the Windows Tablet PC operating system and hardware were found to infringe on a patent by GO Corp. concerning user interfaces for pen computer operating systems. Microsoft’s acquisition of the technology is the subject of a separate lawsuit.
- HP releases the second Multi-Touch capable tablet: the HP TouchSmart tx2 series.
- MobileDemand launches the xTablet T7000 Rugged Tablet PC which runs a full Windows OS and features include an integrated numeric keypad, bar code scanner, credit card reader, etc.
- Apple unveils the iPad, running Apple iOS.
- Quaduro Systems unveils the 10″ QuadPad 3G Plus, a 900 gram Microsoft Windows based 3G tablet PC with 8 hours of battery life.
- Samsung unveils the Galaxy Tab, running Google Android.
- bModo launches the bModo12 which runs the Windows 7 OS and features include 11.6″ TFT-LCD display, 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, USB2.0, SDHC slot, unlocked SIM card Slot, miniHDMI connector, OMTP Jack, a webcam, a mic, etc.
- Neofonie releases the WeTab, a MeeGo-based slate tablet PC, featuring an 11.6 inch multi-touch screen at 1366×768 pixels resolution.
- Dixons Retail plc unveils the Advent Vega, a 10″ tablet PC running Android 2.2, having a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra chipset, 512 Mb of RAM and ROM, 1.3 MP camera, WiFi b/g connectivity, Bluetooth 2.1, a micro SD card slot, a USB port and a 16h battery life for audio playback and 6.5h for 1080p video.
- Dell Announces the Inspiron Duo A flip screen Netbook and Tablet PC hybrid
- HP releases the Slate 500, running a full-version of Windows 7
- Motorola announces Xoom Tablet, a 10 inch tablet powered by the upcoming Android 3.0 Honeycomb
- Asus announces the EEE Pad MeMO (7 inch tablet), EEE Slate EP121 (Windows 7 tablet), EEE Pad Transformer (10 inch tablet with Android and docking keyboard that transforms it into a laptop form factor) and EEE Pad Slider (10 inch tablet with sliding screen over the QWERTY keyboard) [all tablets use IPS display]
- Dell showcases the Streak 7 tablet and says it’s working on the 10 inch Streak 10
- ZTE announces the ZTE V11 that runs Android 3.0, and the Z-pad.
- Apple announces the iPad 2
- Toshiba announces the Toshiba Tablet, a 10 inch tablet powered by a Tegra 2 process and Android 3.0 Honeycomb 
- Samsung announces Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9, the world’s thinnest tablets, running Android 3.0 Honeycomb with Touchwiz UX User Interface.
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- ^ The successor to Gingerbread, Android project Honeycomb is targeted for tablet computers. — Daniel Lyons ( Oct. 11, 2010), Newsweek p. 49
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- ^ ZTE Launches Two Android Tablets: Dual-core Z-pad and Android 3.0 V11 at MWC
- ^ Toshiba Announces 10.1-inch Tegra 2 Tablet