written by: Finn Orfano•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 2/10/2011
Not all tablet PC's look like an iPad, and this article helps to explain just what is a slate tablet PC.
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Tablet computers are gaining popularity thanks to a wide variety of features and applications that make them somewhat comparable to regular laptop computers. In many regards, the only primary difference is the interface. Tablet PC's have been around a while now and the most popular style gaining ground these days is the slate tablet PC, so if you're in the market for a new tablet you may be wondering just what is a slate tablet PC. In this article, learn more about slate tablets and how they work.
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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.)
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Slate Tablet PC's Available
Hardcore PC enthusiasts will often discount the Apple iPad as not being a 'real' computer, though from a functionality standpoint it is pretty close. However, one of the first truly tablet style computers to hit the market was the HP Slate 500, which was released as a business class machine by HP. They put it out shortly before Christmas 2010 and it's no surprise that HP quickly sold out of them. Be sure to read my iPad vs. Slate 500 article to compare the features of these two innovative new devices.
Asus also has a line of Eee tablet PC's that blew people away at CES 2010. In fact, there are several Asus tablet PC's to choose from since this company really embraced the new technology. In addition to tablets running Apple and Microsoft operating systems, you may also consider other style tablet devices from companies like Samsung and their Android tablets. As these type machines gain popularity on the market, you can expect nearly every major manufacturer to jump in the ring. For more information, check out this list of five tablets comparable to the iPad.