The Laptop Computer – Baby You've Come A Long Way

A laptop computer, or simply 'laptop', is a small battery powered personal computer that usually weighs around 1 to 8 kilograms.

These days, many office workers use their laptop as their primary source for computing using an external mouse, keyboard and monitor when in the office, and using the laptop's organic screen, pointing device and keyboard when traveling.

Laptops usually run on a single main rechargeable battery, or from an external AC / DC adapter that charges the battery while also supplying power to the computer itself. Laptop batteries usually last from between 2 and 5 hours between recharges. New battery technology is set to extend their useful life by factors of 3 or 4 times. Most laptops also have a button cell battery to run the clock and store the computer's bios. In most cases, the laptop also holds an image of the main operating system that can be used to restore full functionality after a virus attack or other comunication disaster.

Laptops contain components that are similar to their desktop counterparts and perform the same functions, but are miniature and optimized for mobile use, low weight and efficient power consumption.

Typically the laptop gives less computing power per dollar because they use customized components and propriety designs to lower weight and give lower power consumption. Laptops typically have color liquid crystal displays, and most of them use different memory modules than standard personal desktop computers. In addition to a built-in keyboard, they may also offer users a touchpad (also known as a trackpad) or a track-ball for input, although an external keyboard or mouse can usually be attached.

The first commercially available portable computer was the Osborne 1 in 1981, which used the CP / M operating system. The Osborne 1 weighed 10.7 kgs, had a tiny 13cm CRT display, and a single density floppy disk. Although it was large, heavy and useless compared to today's laptops, it had a revolutionary impact on business. Computing and engineering professionals were able to take their computer and data with them for the first time.

Since these early days the major developments in laptops have been focused on processing power, weight reduction, price reduction, battery life, and more recently, aesthetics. It was not until the mid to late 1990s that laptop computers became common place as prices reduced and they became less burdensome to travel with. As far aesthetics are concerned, Apple's range of laptop computers are examples of brilliant industrial design combined with serious computing power.

Weighing in at less than 3 pounds, the MacBook Air is less than .77 inches thick and will run for up to 5 hours on a single charge.

The future for laptops looks promising. As industrial design and battery technology improvements, laptops will get faster, smaller and lighter. The laptop will become more of an industrial strength PDA than a computer. It will not be too long until you will be able to get full computing power in a handheld device 12 x 12 cms by 8mm thick. The Apple iPhone is half-way there.


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