A tablet computer, or simply tablet, is a one-piece mobile computer. Devices typically have a touch screen, with finger or stylus gestures replacing the conventional computer mouse. It is often supplemented by physical buttons or input from sensors such as accelerometers. An on-screen, hideable virtual keyboard is usually used for typing. Tablets differentiate themselves by being larger than smart phones or personal digital assistants. They are usually 7 inches (18 cm) or larger, measured diagonally.
Though generally self-contained, a tablet computer may be connected to a physical keyboard or other input device. A number of Hybrids that have detachable keyboards have been sold since the mid-1990s. Convertible touch screen notebook computers have an integrated keyboard that can be hidden by a swivel or slide joint. Booklet tablets have dual-touch screens and can be used as a notebook by displaying a virtual keyboard on one of the displays.
Conceptualized in the mid 20th century and prototyped and developed in the last two decades of that century, the devices only became affordable and popular in 2010.
As of March 2012, 31% of U.S. Internet users were reported to have a tablet, which was used mainly for viewing published content such as video and news. Among tablets available in 2012, the top-selling line of devices was Apple's iPad with 100 million sold by mid October 2012 since it had been released on April 3, 2010, followed by Amazon's Kindle Fire with 7 million, and Barnes & Noble's Nook with 5 million. Mobile developers are also increasingly creating apps on tablets, in order to reach a wider audience. As of May 2013, over 70% of mobile developers were targeting tablets (vs. 93% for smartphones and 18% for feature phones).
As of October 2012, for the first time in history, display screen shipments for tablets exceeded shipments for laptop display screens. According to a survey conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) in March 2012, 31% percent of Internet users in the United States owned a tablet, up from 12% in 2011. The survey also found that 72% of tablet owners had an iPad, while 32% had an Android tablet in 2011. By 2012, Android tablet adoption had increased, with 52% of tablet owners using an iPad, while 51% use an Android-powered tablet. As of Q1 2013, Gartner announced that Android's share of tablets was at 56.5%; while Apple's iPad had a 40 percent share (Percentages do not add up to 100% because some tablet owners own/use more than one type of tablet).
According to IDC, in the first quarter of 2013 40% of units shipped worldwide were Apple and Samsung was second with 18% of units shipped. The top five tablet vendors by shipments were Apple (19.5m), Samsung (8.8m), Asus (2.7m), Amazon (1.8m) and Microsoft (0.9m).
Thousands of Apps
All tablets come with a Web browser and a variety of apps. Additional applications are available from the vendor's Web-based store. Apps have driven tablet use and are the foundation of time spent on these devices.