Why is it Called a Slate?
The word 'slate' implies a flat surface most commonly associated with writing. In the old days, school children had chalk slates that they used to do their classwork and hold up for the teacher to see. The same basic principle applies with slate style tablet computers. While laptop computers are portable, they are still meant to be placed on some kind of surface in order for you to use them. Slate tablet PC's don't need to be set down anywhere to be used.
A slate tablet PC is a computer that looks like a big screen and has no visible means of input. There is no keyboard, mouse, trackball, or touchpad. They are thin and may feature a few ports along the outer edge, depending on the model. By design, slate tablet computers are meant to be held in the palm of one hand while you use the other hand to interact through a touchscreen interface. Everything you need to operate the computer is right there on screen, including a digital keyboard. For a more detailed explanation, check out our article on how tablet PC's work.
From typing documents to working in spreadsheets or even manipulating photos, slate tablet computers offer a wide range of possibilities that are even further enhanced thanks to the touchscreen interface. That's why we are seeing more apps and games designed specifically for this new interaction style, and it's changing the way in which people use computers. Be sure to check out my article on the pros and cons of not having a keyboard on tablet computers.
(Image credit: ASUS, Inc.)