Touch and Go (Part 1)

4/19/2012 3:09:09 PM

Tablets are not new invention but they suddenly become “hot” because of iPad of Apple. We are reviewing what they can do.

Description: Tablets are not new invention but they suddenly become “hot” because of iPad of Apple. We are reviewing what they can do.

Most computers invented in last 40 years required you to operate them in a similar way: typing on the keyboard or using the mouse recently. Now another choice is popular: tablets without keyboard or mouse, and there is only a touch screen.

Tablets have been appeared for a long time but you might not hear about it till now. So why is this old idea successful? And you should think about switch your desktop into tablet in the near future, shouldn’t you? We will explain all.

The first tablets

Tablets are computers you can control by pen, stylus or finger instead of the keyboard or mouse.  Although it may be quite natural if you have used keyboard up to now, it’s not the instinct way to interact, so computer manufacturers have found better methods. Because handwriting is very well-known and widely taught, it’s reasonable for a computer to be made in order to understand it and that computer must be easier to use.

The first patent for an electronic device which could be used to write letters for Elisha Gray was given on July 31, 1888, but till the 1940s, everyone began to create theories on controlling devices by using writing. An electronic tablet with written input was illustrated in the 1950s, but while the crew of the original Star Trek in the 1960s just used computers based on stylus, there was nothing in real world compared to it.

In the 1980s, those called “graphic tablets” became popular in the first time. They were separated devices beside keyboard, and allowed users to control computers with styluses.

However, they were mainly used by the artists and engineers to draw rather than controlling generally. Graphic tablets are still being sold currently, and become more multitasking but they still require you to use your hands while looking the screen. However, tablets let you to completely touch the screen.

In 2001, Microsoft began to develop the term “tablet PC” by introducing a computer with the same name along with the “Tablet PC Edition” of Windows XP. Since then, Windows computers started to emerge with features like tablets.

Description: Tablet PC Edition

In general, they had the appearance of laptop because its screens can rotate in the proper location on the keyboard, so they were able to be used as standard laptops or as touch devices. Those called “slate” didn’t have keyboards – everything was controlled by the screen. There were two important points those computers have to face with though they were impressing by technology. Firstly, they were too expensive, even more than equal standard laptops. Secondly, it was hard to persuade potential customers that there are uncountable values in the tablet. At that time, most computer users had learned how to use the keyboard, mouse or touchpad on laptops already, while the handwriting recognition and cursor control on tablets left much regret, so we were mostly stuck with reliable keyboards and mouse.


Description: Touch and Go (Part 1)

Come to mobile

Recently, companies have tried to design small screens to small mobile computers. OQO and Dialogue Flybook are two examples of fashionable small devices working well, though in both cases, their prices make them out of reach of most people. After that, ultra mobile PC (UMPC) comes out. It’s another type of small mobile computers with touch screen but they are quite pricey.

Another problem of this kind of small PC is that growing power and user-friendly features of mobile phone and smartphone. Smartphone screens are becoming larger and processors are approaching computers nearer and nearer about what they can do. When Apple launched iPhone in 2007, it was advertised as a device that could surf the internet, read and send email and view the map, which were mostly what people wanted from a device they brought.

Nevertheless, an area that tablets dominate is in specific work. For example, those who are investigating can use tablets to enter information directly instead of writing it down and then transferring it into computer database, whereas stores and meter readers also find that tablets are very handy to sell and deal with records. A lot of tablets designed for businessmen are very “sturdy” – that means they are created to use outdoor and in severe environment every day. They are often more expensive than standard computers, so they are out of reach of most home users, but the additional cost is an attractive option for companies because they have to replace broken PC.

Table-top touch screen

Touchscreen technology is not limited for tablets or laptops. Several manufacturers have recently launched “all-in-one” computers combined all electronic components (except keyboard and mouse) and the touch screen.

Examples compose of Advent MT22, Samsung U200, MSI AE2220 H-Fi and Medion Akoya P4011D. We haven’t been convinced that with desktop, touch screen provide more advantages with the mouse and keyboard. It’s easier to control the touch screen but if you are teaching your son to control the computer, they will be left behind if they just know how to use the touch screen because they will have to use keyboard and mouse when they go out.

It means that the dimension and appearance of all-in-one will do better with those who live in cramped place or don’t want the mess of desktop while expecting more with the laptop.

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