What Does a Tablet PC Do?

Updated April 17, 2017

Tablet personal computers can do whatever a desktop or laptop computer can do and more. Though the first tablet PC was conceptualised in the 1960s, Apple jump-started the tablet PC craze with the release of the iPad in 2010. Simply put, tablet PCs combine several electronics units, such as a computer, camera and handheld gaming device, into one convenient package.


Tablet PCs are equipped with display screens that measure between 7.5 and 10.1 inches, diagonally. Smaller and more compact than desktop and laptop computers, tablet PCs condense the external features of a desktop and laptop, such as a keyboard, inward, making the entire device smaller. For instance, the iPad 2 measures 9.5 inches tall, 7.3 inches wide and 0.34 inches deep and weighs 0.603kg. Just think of a jumbo sized iPhone, and you'll get the gist of how big a tablet PC is.


Most tablet PCs a feature a pair of built-in digital cameras. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet PC has a rear-facing 3 megapixel camera and a 2 MP front-facing camera, enabling the device to act as both a traditional digital camera and a webcam. The Galaxy Tab takes high-definition photography at 1,080 horizontal lines of vertical resolution and is able to shoot high-definition video. Tablet PCs combine the convenience of a digital camera with the portability of a laptop computer.


Like smartphones and other portable electronic devices, tablet PCs are capable of running applications that are designed specifically for mobile units. Commonly known as "apps," these software programs come from a wide range of categories, including games, productivity, business, sports and weather. Tablet PC manufacturers make these apps available for purchase and download from an online store directly to a tablet PC, desktop or laptop computer. If downloaded to a laptop or desktop, the applications need to be synced to the tablet.

E-book Reader

Electronic book reading is another of the tablet PC's abilities. Apple's iPad, for example, features an e-book reading application that has a built-in dictionary, and enables users to change the text size and font of most e-books purchased from the Apple iBookstore. The iPad's Voice Over application is compatible with the e-book reader and can scan content and read it out loud. As of March 2011, the iBookstore offers more than 200,000 e-books, including selections from "The New York Times" best-seller list. Operating the e-book reader on an iPad is like reading a book in real life, just flip the page with a brush of your fingertip.

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About the Author

Lou Martin has been writing professionally since 1992. His work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," the "Long Beach Press-Telegram" and the "Deseret Morning News." Martin holds a Bachelor of Science in history and communication.