What is a tablet computer?
Tablet is a generic term which refers to a slate-shaped mobile computer, which is little bigger than its own screen and is therefore highly portable. Instead of a keyboard or mouse, a tablet will have a more integrated user interface such as a touchscreen that can be used with just your fingers, or for more accurate work a stylus or digital pen. Tablets may be a preferred device where normal notebooks are impractical or heavy, or do not suit the functionality desired by the user for graphics, ebook reading, or media viewing.
Slate computers, which are named for the shape and size of old-style writing slates, are tablet computers without a dedicated keyboard. For text input, users rely on handwriting recognition via active digitizer, touching the screen with a fingertip or stylus or by using an external keyboard can usually be attached via a wireless or USB connection. The iPad is the most well-known example today (at one stage it was actually rumoured to be called the iSlate after Apple reportedly acquired the domain name islate.com). Most new models now have multi-touch capabilities where a whole range of actions can be achieved by tapping or moving one or more fingertips around the touchscreen.
Some tablets are called convertible, with a swivel out keyboard. These are more useful than slates for people who need to do a lot of text input or emails, as they give the option of touch screen (like a slate), and also full keyboard (like a laptop or netbook). Hybrids are a type of tablet that share the features of the slate and convertible by using a detachable keyboard which operates in a similar fashion to a convertible when attached.