In the previous blog in this series, we discussed that although the concept of tablets had existed for decades, self-contained portable computers were never possible until advances in technology caught up to the idea. Manufacturers tried their best to give consumers what they wanted, but the technology and the market were simply not ready yet. In the early 2000s, however, the market began to see an upsurge in tablets.
This upsurge was driven by Microsoft’s rededication to the tablet concept. The computer giant released a set of guidelines for manufacturers to build tablets using a tablet-specific version of Windows called Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. These newer tablets more closely resembled the tablets currently on the market than the previous generation of tablets.
These devices featured touch screens, video playing capabilities, Internet connectivity, and lighter designs. With the new technology came more complete mobile computer support as well. They were not quite up to the abilities tablets would have in only a few years, but it was a great start.
Most of these early tablets had problems with either processing power or battery life and a few had both. In the 2000s, the manufacturers generally had to make a choice when building a compact computer such as a tablet – more power or more battery. The better processor used up more battery life but bigger batteries mean more weight and as consumers see it, the entire point of tablets is to make them smaller, lighter, and easier to carry. Therefore, manufacturers had to make a choice and both choices were detrimental to their machine.
Once again, the entire game changed when Apple stepped into the competition. Consumers met the 2010 release of the iPad with resounding approval because it took a very different approach to tablets. The iPad came with a completely new operating system that functioned completely unlike a computer or laptop and which fully integrated the ability to control the tablet without a stylus.
The apps available on the iPad add very useful features to an otherwise basic machine. One problem many users had with the device is that it does not allow users to download unauthorized content onto the machine. Many people have gotten around this by “jailbreaking” their iPads – which is legal and voids the warrantee – and installing new software onto it.
The upsurge continued with dozens of other tablets released after the iPad and they have become more and more popular as people realize how useful a tablet can be.
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