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What is a touch screen tablet PC – a thorough explanation

In a world where new electronic devices are being invented every day, it becomes more and more difficult for the regular users to make a clear distinction, especially if we consider that their names are sometimes so similar…

For example, how many people out there know what are the main differences between netbooks and notebooks or between a touch screen tablet PC and a tablet PC? Not too many, unfortunately…

This is exactly the reason which made me write down this article: I consider that the first step in understanding a product or a process is defining it, so I hope it will really help you in taking the right decision when it comes to buying a touch screen tablet, especially since many on-line retailers tend to present what they have to offer in a shady manner.

A large picture of one of the newest HTC tablets.

This is how a modern tablet touch screen PC should look like. Source:

Without jumping on conclusions, here are some of the most common characteristics that you will notice on touch screen tablets:

  • You will never meet a physical keyboard when it comes to a touch screen tablet. I mean, that’s why they are “touch screen”, right? These devices will always have an on-screen keyboard that allows you to type messages and emails. The only potential exception is Acer’s Iconia W500, which has a docking station that incorporates a keyboard.
  • Most of the touch screen tablets are entertainment-oriented, meaning that they have various functions which enable and empower the user to connect with friends, watch movies or just play games. Actually, there is an entire industry that developed behind these applications. The best example when it comes to this: Apple’s iPad
  • The user interface is adapted to using fingers. Almost every tablet has a small change in the way you can use it, and a couple of important manufacturers including HTC and HP have actually implemented significant differentiations in their tablet’s software, either taking advantage of the Android’s versatility, or simply by designing their own OS.
  • If you want to get a decent tablet, you should know that its price should be at least $500 without a plan. If you get offers for less than that, there are two options: either the tablet is good, but it is old fashioned already, or if we are talking about a recent version, than you might be facing a so called “epic failure

One of the most important aspects when buying a tablet is the operating system because yes, there are now more options than the classic Windows. Currently, the most popular OS is Google’s Android, which has “reached” several versions already, the most recent one being 3.0, a.k.a. Honeycomb.

The benefits of having a touch screen tablet...

A touch screen tablet allows you to do all sorts of things, sometimes even more than regular computers! Source:

This one in particular is currently available only on one tablet, Motorola XOOM, but all of the major manufacturers have already announced that they intend to use it for their upcoming devices.

On the other hand, Apple and HP preferred to develop their own operating systems for tablets, and so we have the iOS (Apple) and webOS (HP). The main reason for which these two companies decided to do this was precisely the user interface that I was talking about before, since now the can customize their tablets by their wish, and offer new and better apps to their buyers.

Windows could not miss this list as well, as Microsoft has taken care of developing an OS for tablets as well. Even so, there aren’t many people which still want to use this OS, which is not a big surprise considering Windows’s functionality issues.

Anyway, if you’re a Microsoft fan, you should know that the tablet version of the OS is Windows 7, which comes in two editions: Starter (basic) or Home Premium (full).

The war between the operating systems is far from being over.

The war between the operating systems is far from being over. The main competitors: Android, Windows and IOS. Source:

And now, a few words on the hardware part. I know, you might not be interested to much on what’s under the hood as long as your tablet “rocks”, but even so, here are some of the aspects you may want to consider when choosing your device:

  • When it comes to connectivity, each touch screen tablet should have a 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Believe it or not, this is the standard now! Also, you might see that your tablet comes with a webcam, which is really great since more and more people use video calls.
  • Choose a tablet that is easy to work with. As stated earlier, most of the manufacturers have changes the interface in order to make it easier for you to find any basic command. Even so, it is better to ask a sales representative to show you some “tricks” of the tablet you want to buy.
  • Even if this may sound a bit weird, when buying a tablet, make sure you get a light one. I know, price is important as well, but since you will carry this device with you at work every day, or when you go on a camping trip, it is important not to feel it as a burden. Don’t worry though, as the average weight of a tablet right now is of about 2 pounds.
  • The tablet you intend to buy should be capable of multitasking and playing full HD movies, not to mention the games they can run… All of these are possible due to the advanced processors that come along with these computers. The most common brands you will hear are Tegra 2 and Qualcomm, even if Intel has also got a great series of processors recently.

Making the long story short, the touch screen tablets are great versatile tools that can be of great help I your day to day activities, allowing you to both write down emails and listening to music or watching a movie.

People like them a lot especially because they are light and their design makes them easy to carry when going on a trip, and if you want to see how popular tablets are right now, you might want to know that a Morgan Stanley researcher has recently issued a report saying that the company he works for expects that more than 100 million tablets will be sold in 2011.

Have you bought one already?

In the end, you might want to know more on what a touch screen tablet is all about, so I decided to posta a short video about one of the hottest tablets right now, Motorola Xoom. Check it out!

About the Author
Cosmin is an editor here at . He's a young tech enthusiast with a passions for Android devices. He'll keep you updated on these, whether we're talking about tablets, smartphones or something else.

Last updated: May 9, 2011 | Published: March 6th, 2011

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