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Technology Solutions: Revolution of the Tablet Computer

23 Jan, 2012 By: Dr. Satwant Kaur, Hewlett-Packard imageSource


Recently, a Canadian man entered the U.S. by showing his passport on his PC Tablet device. This is a sign of the times where advancing technology takes center stage at every level, with much more to follow on the horizon.

The new wave of PC Tablets is replacing computers as computing devices. They are in many cases, replacing cell phones as a means of broader telecommunications. They are replacing information sources such as newspapers and books and PDAs, besides smartphones, as a means of remote access to various emails, contacts, calendars, productivity tools and even social networking uses with their larger screens and better interfaces.

NEXT GENERATION TABLETS

The mobile devices of the past decade did bring both computing power and pad-and-pen convenience together. But, they have been heavier and sometimes needed a stylus. Now, in lieu of the heavier laptop, Tablets are smaller, portable and easier to place in a purse or briefcase, or carry as is. Size does matter.

Basically, these next-generation Tablets are portable devices that combine the functions of a cell phone and a computer. Tablets offer mobile capabilities beyond those of traditional computers, such as touch screens, “instant-on” capability, augmented reality, movement-sensing and location-aware applications. Tablets are also attractive as highly portable and general-purpose front ends.

Tablet PC’s comes with a touchscreen as a primary input device, and running a modified desktop OS, such as Windows 8, or a modified smartphone OS, such as Android.

Tablets can also give access to the files stored on a user’s home PC, from their Tablet, over cellular or Wi-Fi networks.

FEATURES OF NEXT-GEN TABLETS

Tablet PCs are full computers running a desktop-like operating system, but in a smaller Tablet format. Today’s Tablets serve multiple functions, such as for the e-book reader, Internet devices, and TVs. It is a computer without a keyboard. And you can run many of your business functions from them.

Tablets Have Specialized OS. Examples Include:

• Android Tablets have Google’s open-source Android operating system, such as Honeycomb which is a dedicated Tablet operating system.

• Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablets have an operating system called Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, as well as quad-core processors and high resolution screens.

• Microsoft Windows 8 operating system is a touch-friendly, no keyboard or mouse, necessary interface that was designed from the ground up to run on Tablet computers.

• Tablets not following the personal computer (PC) tradition use operating systems in smartphones.

LIST OF THE NEXT-GEN TABLETS

Tablet PC is a portable personal computer equipped with a touchscreen as a primary input device, and running a full-fledged desktop OS.

Tablets are ideal devices for users who need mobile computing; find the cell phone and PDA is too small, and like the virtual keyboard operations of a flat touch screen.

Next-Gen Tablets Include:

• Samsung 5.3-inch Galaxy Note has stylus-sporting Android Tablet

• Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with Android Ice Cream Sandwich

• Windows Tablets are ARM-based tablets running a pre-build of Windows 8 as well as on ARM architecture

• Lenovo IdeaPad S2 Hybrid Tablet is a 10 inch tablet that converts into a laptop when snapped into its keyboard/dock; weighs 1.27 pounds

• Vizio Tablet comes with 10 inch screen and runs Android Ice Cream Cone

• Asus has Hi-Res Display for Transformer Table on Android Tablet w/10 inch display

• Acer’s Iconia Tab A200 Tablet comes with Android 4.0 - Ice Cream Sandwich

• iPad 4 with iOS operating system will be thinner, lighter, faster processor, retina screen, Suri and possible face recognition

• Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet have way to read and watch content from Amazon; the Nook is a an excellent e-reader

• Samsung Sliding PC7 Series has sliding screen. It’s a tablet with Intel Atom hardware. Its sliding screen allows it to be used as a laptop or slate tablet when the screen is locked

• Lenovo X61 in slate mode

• Tablet PCs which run Microsoft Windows are Acer, Lenovo Group, and Toshiba

Features of Next-Gen Tablets

Tablets are finger driven and most frequently use capacitive touch screens with multi-touch and other natural user interface features.

Flash memory solid-state storage drives. Tablets can have storage drives or on-board flash memory. Solid-state memory is often preferable due to better resistance to damage during movement.

“Instant on” warm-boot times.

Standard external USB and Bluetooth keyboards.

Unix-like OS, such as Darwin, Linux or QNX.

3G mobile telephony capabilities. Wireless or Wi-Fi connectivity is used for communication between tablets. Bluetooth is used for connecting peripherals and communicating with local devices in place of a wired USB connection.

ARM architecture processor provides battery life.

“App stores,” provide centralized catalogues of software and allow simple “one click” on-device software purchasing, installation & updates.

Handwriting recognition with stylus.

Touchscreen hardware - multi-touch capacitive touchscreens.

Multi-touch capabilities can recognize multiple simultaneous finger touches, allowing for enhanced manipulation of on-screen objects.

System architecture for Tablets includes both x86 and ARM architecture.

Lighter weight, lower power models.

Function similarly to dedicated reading devices like the Amazon Kindle.

Multi Touch makes navigation easy as well as image manipulation.

It is more natural to use a finger on a screen to select objects rather than a
mouse or touchpad.

Capacitive contact screens can sense even light finger on the screen.

Multi-touch abilities can recognize multiple simultaneous finger touches, allowing for enhanced manipulation of on-screen objects.

Screen size: Although large screen sizes are more convenient, they add weight to Tablet PCs and need more power, and hence shorter battery life. The 12” form factor is optimal for the power, size and weight considerations needed for portability.

New tablet computers have non-Wintel, mobile operating systems, and have a different interface instead of the traditional desktop OS.

Bottom line? Tablets offer mobile capabilities beyond those of smartphones and PDA’s and portability, size and convenience over traditional computers, even laptops. Watch them continue to evolve and become commonplace in business use as well as personal use.




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