A complete computer contained in a touch screen. Tablet computers can be specialized for Internet use only or be full-blown, general-purpose PCs. The distinguishing characteristic is the use of the screen as an input device using a stylus or finger. In 2000, Microsoft introduced a Windows tablet running a version of Windows XP (see Tablet PC).|
iPad, Android and Windows
After years of limited success with tablets from a variety of vendors, in 2010, Apple's iPad created a revolution nearly as great as it did with the iPhone. However, Android came close on the iPad's heels with a variety of different models from several vendors. The iPad, Android and Windows tablets are the three major tablet platforms, each of which runs apps written only for their operating systems. However, all of them have browsers that access the Web (see iPad, Android and Tablet PC). See Ultra-Mobile PC, Webpad and touch screen.
The Qbe ("Cube") was an example of an earlier tablet computer with built-in voice recognition, camera, modem and networking. Introduced in 1999, it included a stand and keyboard for desktop use. (Image courtesy of Aqcess Technologies Inc.)