During the past few years a new type of mobile computer has emerged: the tablet. In comparison to other mobile computers such as notebooks, a tablet computer or tablet PC usually features a flat touch screen, sometimes in combination with a stylus pen or digital pen, and no keyboard. There are several types of tablets: the slate is keyboardless, the convertible notebook has an integrated keyboard that can be hidden by a swivel or slide motion, hybrids use detachable keyboards and booklets work on two separate touch screens, one of which can be used as a virtual keyboard.
Apart from the average functions of a standard PC or notebook, a tablet usually works on wireless Internet and enables web browsing and GPS navigation, typically features a video camera, and sometimes also functions as a cell phone. Advantages of tablets are their minimal weight, generally around one kilogram, and their long battery life of three to ten hours. This makes a tablet the ideal mobile computer compared to notebooks, since tablets usually have larger screens and are lighter than an average notebook, with the exception of ultra light notebooks such as the MacBook Air. Tablets are also used for watching films on the go, reading e-books, playing games and most importantly for web browsing. The most popular, prestigious and bestselling tablet is the Apple iPad with its “multi touch” touch screen.
Disadvantages of tablets include their high prices: according to the functions of a typical tablet it is a rather expensive tool compared to standard notebooks that usually feature a higher number of functions. Another disadvantage can be that a tablet can get scratched or break rather easily in comparison to a notebook; especially tablets of the slate type, since they have no keyboard that would serve as protection when folded up. Critics also describe tablets as mere playthings because they are neither one thing nor the other. Smartphones, laptops and tablets are becoming more similar in many ways and a hybrid form, smartphone-tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, has also emerged. More recent models of tablet PCs run on mobile operating systems that are normally used on smartphones, such as Android or iOS.