Since tablets are light and compact, their primary purpose is mobile computing. This means that they must have sufficient battery life, despite the large display screens and touch interface. Here’s the hardware that helps manufacturers make that happen.

Processors
The brain of any tablet is the processor that powers its core working. Since most devices are touch sensitive, and need to connect to the Internet and offer a long battery life, the processor should be light on the system. Most tablets today are powered by the processors from ARM or those based on Intel’s x86 architecture. A typical chipset based on the simple ARM architecture can handle 4 million instructions per second at 8 MHz (ARM1) to a maximum of 220 million instructions per second at 200 MHz (ARM9E). The architecture is licensed to a host of companies to develop their own processors, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon, the Samsung Hummingbird, Nintendo, Nvidia Tegra and the Apple A4. Intel has developed the Atom processor based on its x86 architecture. The Atom Z6xx codenamed Lincroft, offers GPU speeds of 1.6 GHz.

Operating Systems
The heart of the tablet is its operating system. There are several OSs that are device and vendor specific, while others are multi-platform. The most prominent OSs for tablets include iOS (a proprietary OS for Apple devices), Microsoft Windows 7 and Google's Android OS and now the more recent Blackberry Tablet OS or the Playbook tablet. More OS' are expected to come up in the future, which will include the Maemo operating system based on Linux, which is being developed by Nokia, and the webOS, originally developed by Palm, which would now power tablets and smartphones from HP. There are also talks of Chrome OS for Google tablets being developed by Google and HTC. The two mobile opertaing systems that have yet to be spoken of in terms of tablet technology is Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and the on-its-way-out Symbian opertaing system, butyou never know.

The Apple iPad's innards

The Apple iPad's innards

Storage Space
Tablets come with varying memory capacities, starting from 2GB (Wespro Epad) to, as much as 64GB (Apple iPad) built-in storage space. Tablets usually come with an SD card slot to increase storage space, but that is of limited use if the device is powered by Android 2.1 or lower, as those don’t let you install apps on external storage. Moreover, if your tablet offers USB ports, you can attach an external hard drive to get extra storage space for your data.
 
Touch Screen UI
A touch screen user interface is a bit different from the graphical user interface primarily due to touch-based inputs. While this kind of interface is useful to make the command selection via text more accurate, they offer extended features like adding widgets and live wallpaper to make your device more interactive. The iPad features a proprietary UI developed by Apple, there is the TouchWiz UI from Samsung, and the Sense UI by HTC.

Sensors
The touch screen in a tablet is not pressure-based, and relies on several sensors. The high-end tablets include an accelerometer, ambient light sensor and temperature sensor. The accelerometer or the gravity sensor helps to change the orientation of the screen in terms of how it is held. The ambient light sensor adjusts brightness and contrast of your tablet screen with respect to lighting conditions. The temperature sensor intimates you of your battery heat levels.

The Galaxy Tab exposed

The Galaxy Tab exposed

Connectors
Most of the tablets offer several ports like the USB and HDMI, plus audio connectors and SD card and SIM card slots. However, the iPad is one of the few tablets that sports only one outlet that doubles as a charging port for the device.

Camera
Tablets usually feature a front camera for video calls on-the-go. The camera quality ranges from VGA quality right up to 8 megapixels. With the introduction of the Android 3.0 OS, which supports 3D, tablets are likely to sport dual cameras to help capture 3D pictures and video.

Publish date: July 6, 2011 10:05 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:08 pm

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