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Learn about tablets

Everything you need to know about tablets and how to use them

Choosing a tablet

Now that it's time to choose your own tablet, it's worth considering what kind of things you are going to use it for. This way you know that you'll match the right machine to your needs.

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Using your tablet

Whether you're using your tablet for business or leisure, here you can find out all you need to know about how your new tablet will make your life so much easier.

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Tablet apps

There are hundreds of thousands of apps available for your tablet with thousands more in development, covering everything from lifestyle and shopping to business and social networking.

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Tablet accessories

Get the very best performance from your tablet - choose from our range of stylish, high quality accessories. Everything you need is just a click away.

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Learn more about tablets with our helpful videos

Glossary

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Description
This feature re-orientates your tablet's screen as you move it. So, depending on the way it's held, the screen orientates itself automatically so you can flip effortlessly between portrait and landscape modes.
This is the standard multimedia program used to add rich animation, video, and interactivity to web pages, apps and games. Currently only Android devices, BlackBerry and HP tablets support Flash.
Android Honeycomb is the latest version of this Google built operating system and is used in several new tablets. The newest version, 3.1, is now available on the Motorola Xoom.

Honeycomb was developed specifically as an operating system for tablets and is built using open-source software that is readily customised and optimised by tablet manufacturers to suit their particular specifications.

This OS has been designed to work smoothly with the dual-core processors used within the new generation of tablets, such as the XOOM. As you might expect, Android integrates smoothly with Google's popular email, documents, contacts, and maps software products. It also runs Adobe Flash when browsing and with over 100,000 apps available, it is a hugely popular choice with consumers.
These are the software packages designed to help you complete specific tasks with your tablet and enable you to interact with the things that matter to you.
This is the relationship between screen height and width. To fill your tablet screen with movies and other widescreen content, an aspect ratio of 16:9 is ideal.
Battery life varies between tablets, so it's important to consider this feature as part of your research into which tablet to buy. Choose the longest battery life you can afford, and consider purchasing extra battery units to lengthen the usefulness of your tablet when you are on the move.
The BlackBerry® PlayBook™ Tablet houses a 1GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core processor within its BlackBerry Tablet OS which is based on BlackBerry's own QNX operating system. This technology enables true multi-tasking and lightening quick response times.

With a huge, well-established customer base thanks to its smartphone success, BlackBerry PlayBook is aimed particularly at the business community.

Users get access to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, a rich and growing application ecosystem and compatibility with POSIX OS, SMP, Open GL, WebKit, Adobe Flash and Adobe Mobile AIR.

As the number of apps being developed grows, they are being added to the brand's App World storefront that comes pre-installed on every new tablet.
Bluetooth is a connection technology used to wirelessly sync your tablet with nearby devices such as a mouse, headset, keyboard or printer. Its effective range is limited to short distances.
More and more tablets now incorporate cameras, enabling you to not only capture images, but also for use in video conferencing, or video conversations.

Different tablets have different systems - some have only a single camera, while others have both forward and backward-facing cameras. Things to bear in mind here are the resolution of the camera and whether it has a zoom, a flash or autofocus feature.
GPS is a satellite navigation system that allows you to accurately establish your position wherever you are in the world. It is particularly beneficial for finding directions from where you are to another destination.
This refers to TV and film content. It is a superior screen resolution, which utilizes a greater pixel density to deliver a richer, more detailed picture.
HDMI connections enable you to relay the output from your tablet via a cable to an HD Ready widescreen TV or HD projector.
HP's TouchPad runs its own WebOS 3.0 operating system, and has a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 processor at its heart.

WebOS is the built on a 'cards' system of windows used for displaying applications enables users to easily shuffle, group, select and switch between them and multitask with ease.

This operating system supports video calling and Adobe's Flash software - this is a family of programming technologies which enable on-screen multimedia content such as video, animation and interactive online applications to be richer and more engaging.
This screen technology affords a clear view of a tablet's screen from anywhere in front of it, however acute the viewing angle. Compare this with most laptop screens that are only designed to be viewed from a frontal position.
Storage is expressed as GB (gigabytes) and is the amount of room available to you for all the apps you need and files you will add during use, such as Movies, pictures and other documents.

If you will be storing a lot of music, video or photo files, it will help to have an abundant supply of storage space. As an alternative, you might want to invest in an external hard drive in order to keep files stored on your tablet to a minimum. See all our hard drives.
This is the ability of your tablet to run more than one application at a time. So you can hop between applications and be more productive. For instance you can be using email or word processing while listening to music. In the case of the Android operating system, you can run multiple applications on the screen at the same time. For example, you can read your email, surf the Internet and video chat on the same screen at once. This experience cannot be replicated on any other device.
You control what your tablet does by tapping, swiping, pinching or reverse-pinching on the screen. You will find that these actions quickly become second nature as the tablet is very intuitive.
Otherwise known as platforms, these are the framework and interface of the tablet. They determine how you interact with it and get the best out of it, and how well the system handles the tasks you give it. There are currently four main choices: Android, Apple OS, BlackBerry tablet OS and WebOS. When considering your OS give some thought to the types of software and applications (or apps) you are likely to use. Availability of apps and software varies depending upon which OS your tablet runs.
The microprocessor is the brain of your tablet. Its speed is measured in GHz (gigahertz) so the higher the number of GHz, the faster it is at carrying out the complex mathematics behind the tasks you give it.
A wireless, portable personal computer built around a touch screen interface. The shape and size of a tablet is usually smaller than a notebook or laptop PC but significantly larger than a smartphone.
This is an industry-standard connection that allows connectivity between computers and peripheral equipment such as webcams, printers, mice and external drives. A variation is the micro-USB, which is slightly smaller.

USB flash drives are a fast way of accessing files you don't want to keep on your tablet's own internal hard drive. More USB ports are desirable as the functionality of your tablet is increased.
This is a wireless connection that enables connection of your tablet to the Internet. Most homes and workplaces have a Wi-Fi hub providing connectivity within a specific range. Connectivity ceases outside of this range, often limited to several rooms or offices. Coffee shops, and shopping malls frequently provide access to a Wi-Fi hub. For connectivity beyond these hubs, mobile 3G systems are necessary.
This system allows your tablet to connect to the Internet wherever there is a 3G mobile network connection. These are usually chargeable and require a usage agreement with a telecom service provider. They are also slightly slower than Wi-Fi and can prove unreliable outside of densely-populated areas.
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