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3G/4G is the voice and data network your mobile device uses to make calls and connect to the Internet. Access usually requires a usage agreement with a mobile service provider. While 4G provides faster connection speeds than 3G, both are slightly slower than Wi-Fi and can prove unreliable outside densely populated areas.
An accelerometer reorientates your tablet's screen as you move it. Depending on the way it's being held, the screen orientates itself automatically so you can flip effortlessly between landscape (wide) mode and portrait (tall) mode.
Adobe Flash is the standard multimedia program used to add rich animation, video and interactivity to Web pages, apps and games.
App is shorthand for application. These are the little pieces of software designed to help you complete specific tasks with your tablet that enable you to interact with the things that matter to you.
The aspect ratio is the relationship between screen height and width. To fill your tablet screen with movies and other wide-screen content, an aspect ratio of 16:9 is ideal. Tablets allow the user to easily switch between landscape (wide) mode and portrait (tall) mode.
Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that transmits data between two devices. Bluetooth is generally used to connect peripherals like a mouse, keyboard or headset to computers or mobile devices that have the Bluetooth interface.
The browser is a program that allows a user to access and use content on the Internet. Examples of browsers include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
A byte is a unit of measurement that is eight binary units long. Generally, tablet storage is measured in byte multiples. For example, one kilobyte (KB) is equal to approximately 1,000 bytes. There are approximately 1,000 kilobytes in one megabyte (MB), and a gigabyte (GB) is equal to approximately 1,000 megabytes.
Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet, instead of on your computer's hard drive. In this case, the cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. Cloud computing also refers to off-site backup of data. In this instance, data on a computer is synchronized with a remote server. If data is erased locally, the computer can resynchronize with the remote server and reload the missing information. Many business programs and services can now be done “over the cloud” without the need to set up local servers and manually install software.
CPU is a commonly used acronym that stands for Central Processing Unit. The CPU is essentially the brain of the computer; it’s in charge of performing all the calculations required to process information. The faster a CPU is, the more calculations it can perform per second, which equates to faster program operation and boot-up time and improved multi-tasking capability.
A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls the flow of data from a networked device to other devices. Firewalls are used to help prevent intrusion from an unwanted user or program that may be trying to gain access remotely. Firewalls can block communications both across a local area network and across a wide area network.
Similar to a hard drive, a flash drive refers to a device that allows the storage of data. Unlike hard drives, though, flash drives do not have any moving parts, such as a spinning wheel. Rather, they contain a solid-state chip designed to store a large amount of data. Flash drives are also much smaller in size. These two factors have made flash drives the new preferred method of storage for portable use, instead of having to save data to a CD.
GB is a commonly used acronym that stands for gigabyte and refers to the memory capacity of a tablet or other device. A gigabyte is approximately 1,000 megabytes (MB). For comparison’s sake, a gigabyte of data is almost twice the amount of data that a CD-ROM can hold, and about 1,000 times the capacity of a 3.5” floppy disk.
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.
GUI is a commonly used acronym that stands for Graphical User Interface. A GUI allows users to interact with a system using icons and other visualizations, as opposed to text and commands. Tablet operating systems feature a GUI.
HD is a commonly used acronym for high definition, in the case of TV and film content. It is a superior screen resolution, which uses a greater pixel density to deliver a richer, more detailed picture. Some tablets offer 1080p resolution, which refers to 1,080 lines of resolution scanned in progressively, providing the most detailed video image currently available to consumers.
IPS is an acronym for In-Plane Switching. 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.
A megapixel is 1 million pixels, used as a measure of the resolution in digital cameras. A pixel is a minute area of illumination on a display screen, one of many from which an image is composed.
A multi-touch screen is a type of tablet screen that allows the user to control the screen by tapping, swiping, pinching or reverse-pinching it.
The operating system is the main software responsible for controlling a tablet, computer or cell phone’s hardware. Examples of tablet operating systems include Android and Windows RT.
The processor is like the brain or engine of your tablet. Its speed is measured in megahertz and gigahertz (MHz and GHz respectively), where a gigahertz is 1,000 megahertz, so the higher the number of GHz, the faster it carries out complex tasks. Some tablets feature quad-core processors, while most still use only dual- or single-core processors. A quad-core processor can run four simultaneous processes and run extremely fast, but it also consumes an immense amount of battery life.
A router is a device that’s commonly used to split a single Internet connection among multiple networked devices, usually through Wi-Fi. Routers allow simultaneous sharing of a single Internet connection by assigning unique IP addresses to each device, and allowing them to share the connection without creating conflicts. Many homes and businesses use a router to create a Wi-Fi hub and provide wireless connectivity within a specific range. Connectivity is often limited to several rooms or offices; beyond that, a 3G/4G cell data plan is necessary for Internet access.
A search engine is a Web site designed to search through massive amounts of content on the Web and deliver relevant results based on specific search terms and keywords. Examples of search engines are Google, Bing and Duck Duck Go.
Solid State Drive
An SSD is a type of storage drive that replaces the traditional hard drive. Solid state drives contain no moving parts, store all information on a collection of microchips and operate at a much faster speed than traditional hard drives do. They are also a lot more stable. Storage space is more limited on an SSD than a traditional hard drive, but as the technology improves, it’s allowing the capacity to increase.
Designed by Apple and Intel, Thunderbolt is a way to connect devices to each other (or to a computer) that promises faster data transfer speeds than USB connectivity can typically offer.
Short for universal serial bus, USB is a standard type of connector that allows external devices and peripheral accessories (e.g., Webcams, printers, mice and external drives) to connect with a computer.
VoIP is short for Voice-over Internet Protocol, or most simply, phone service over the Internet. Services such as Skype operate via VoIP.
Wi-Fi is short for Wireless Fidelity, and also known as WLAN or Wireless Local Area Network. Wi-Fi enables the connection of your tablet (or any other mobile device) to the Internet. Most homes and workplaces use a router to create a Wi-Fi hub and provide wireless connectivity within a specific range. Most tablets use one or two different Wi-Fi standards, 802.11g and 802.11n, which differ only in speed (N is faster than G). Almost every wireless network uses 802.11g.
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