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 eight to ten 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 World Wide 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, an office or public place like a coffee shop or even a library. Tablets that do use 3G can connect to the internet anywhere where 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 Acer that use Android. Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft is a recent entry into a world of tablets.

All tablets have a touch interface. 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 forefinger, 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 web pages like newspaper websites and, 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 timetables, showing recipes, booking travel or making internet video phone calls. There are lots of simple games too, as well as apps that act as short-cuts to your favourite websites. Apps are available free or for purchase from the Apple app store for the iPad and the Android Marketplace for the other tablets. There’s an app for just about anything you can think of. Just do a search and see what comes up.

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An introduction to the wonderful world of Tablet computing including how a Tablet is different to a notebook or PC and what you can do with them.

Tablets – Understanding Tablet Computing

iPad – Telstra Everyone Connected

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 eight to ten 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 World Wide 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, an office or public place like a coffee shop or even a library. Tablets that do use 3G can connect to the internet anywhere where 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 Acer that use Android. Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft is a recent entry into a world of tablets.

All tablets have a touch interface. 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 forefinger, 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 web pages like newspaper websites and, 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 timetables, showing recipes, booking travel or making internet video phone calls. There are lots of simple games too, as well as apps that act as short-cuts to your favourite websites. Apps are available free or for purchase from the Apple app store for the iPad and the Android Marketplace for the other tablets. There’s an app for just about anything you can think of. Just do a search and see what comes up.