A tablet computer, or a tablet, is a mobile computer, larger than a mobile phone or personal digital assistant, integrated into a flat touch screen and primarily operated by touching the screen rather than using a physical keyboard. It often uses an onscreen virtual keyboard, a passive stylus pen, or a digital pen. The term may also apply to a variety of form factors that differ in position of the screen with respect to a keyboard. The standard form is called slate, which does not have an integrated keyboard but may be connected to one with a wireless link or a USB port. Convertible notebook computers have an integrated keyboard that can be hidden by a swivel joint or slide joint, exposing only the screen for touch operation. Hybrids have a detachable keyboard so that the touch screen can be used as a stand-alone tablet. Booklets include two touch screens, and can be used as a notebook by displaying a virtual keyboard in one of them.
Early examples of the information tablet concept originated in the 19th and 20th centuries mainly as prototypes and concept ideas; prominently, Alan Kay's Dynabook of 1968. The first commercial portable electronic devices based on the concept appeared at the end of the 20th century. During the 2000s Microsoft attempted a relatively unsuccessful product line with Microsoft Tablet PC, which carved a niche market at hospitals and outdoor businesses. In 2010, Apple released the iPad, which used touch screen technology similar to that used in their iPhone and became the first mobile computer tablet to achieve worldwide commercial success.
Besides having most PC computer capabilities, popular, typical tablet computers purchased in the last year include wireless Internet browsing functions, potential cell phone functions, GPS navigation, and video camera functions, weigh around two or three pounds (1-1.5 kilograms) and typically have a battery life of three to ten hours.