28 September 2016
Duration: 3:13

Tablets are thin, portable computers that can be used to read books, watch movies, listen to music, read and write email, view photos and browse the web.

There's a new kind of computer and it's called a tablet. It's smaller and easier to use than a laptop and generally they're cheaper too. Tablets are thin, portable computers with batteries that last 8 to 10 hours so you don't need to be plugged into power to use them. You recharge them much like a mobile phone and they're very light, about as heavy as a small hardback book.

You can use a tablet to read books, watch movies, listen to music, read and write email, view photos and connect to the internet to browse the worldwide web. All models can connect to the internet while asleep. Some models connect using the same 3G mobile network that phones do while others use a WiFi network.

WiFi tablets can connect to the internet using any WiFi network at all. Whether that's in your home and office or public place like a coffee shop or even a library. Tablets that do use 3G can connect to the internet anywhere there is good mobile phone reception so you can access the web from wherever you are. Your house, the street, the outback, even overseas.

There are several types of tablet operating systems. Apple's iPad uses an operating system called iOS and then there's a whole bunch of tablets from brands like Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, and Asa that use Android. All tablets have a touchy device. That means you work them by tapping directly on the screen. This makes them very easy to use.

Different finger movements called gestures do different things. A pinching motion between thumb and fore-finger where you slide your fingers apart on the screen zooms in. Which is great for reading small text on the internet. A tap or double tap follows an internet link or selects an icon on the tablet's home screen. A swipe sliding your finger right to left turns a page in an electronic book. Sliding your finger from bottom to top scrolls the screen up and down. Essential for viewing long webpages like newspaper websites.

When you need to type something on a tablet a keyboard will automatically appear on the screen. Just tap the letters with your finger like you would on a physical keyboard.

You get things done on a tablet by using apps which is short for Software Applications. These are mini programs, each one does a specific task on the tablet. There are apps for checking the weather, train time tables, showing recipes, booking travel. There are lots of simple games too. As well as apps that act as shortcuts to your favourite websites.

Apps are available free or for purchase. There's an app for just about anything you can think of. Just do a search and see what comes up.