Laptop and notebook computers have been around for a long time, but their uses have changed considerably over the years. Today, a laptop is a small, portable personal computer that is typically used for web browsing, playing games, and other light computing tasks. In the past, these devices were more bulky, heavier, and expensive, but today they are more compact and lighter.
Laptops are generally more expensive than notebooks, though some models are less expensive than others. The difference comes from their size and integrated technology. For example, most modern laptops come with an AC power supply, DVD drive, and touchscreen display. Aside from the screen, the computer’s performance is largely determined by its CPU, RAM, and hard drive.
Laptops were once primarily used by “business people on the go”. These computers were designed to be lightweight, portable, and similar to desktop computers. They were marketed as a “perfect” office solution, and could run presentation software, spreadsheet software, and other business programs. Many consumers opted to buy them as their primary computer. Although they are still used by many, the proliferation of tablet computers has slowed sales.
Laptops were the first computers to feature a USB port. This was a major advancement over earlier portable computers, which usually had no USB ports. Some laptops also featured an Ethernet network port. However, as the prevalence of wireless networking grew, these features fell out of favor.
One of the first examples of a truly mobile device was the Apple PowerBook. This 4.4 pound machine was the first to feature a clamshell case and a touchscreen display. It was a significant advancement over the floppy disk and tape that the earliest portable computers relied on.
Several companies began using the word notebook to describe their products. Early examples include the NEC UltraLite Notebook, the Sony VAIO, and the IBM ThinkPad. These devices were all relatively small and had notable features, such as a built-in modem, a pointing device, and a ROM. Other companies, such as Fujitsu and Gateway, also referred to their products as notebooks.
Similarly, manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Toshiba are using the term “laptop” on their Web sites. Some of these products actually feature a detachable keyboard and are marketed as 2-in-1 PCs, or “laptops”.
The word “notebook” is often mistakenly used to refer to portable, pocketable computers. While the term can be ambiguous, it has been a staple in marketing literature for several years. To the uninitiated, a laptop is a portable computer that can be easily folded into a clamshell or flipped over for storage or transportation. Most laptops are designed to be comfortable to carry, and have a flat panel screen on the inside of the upper lid. Typical notebooks measure 10 to 20 inches, while smaller units are available for those who like to have a portable computer that is a little larger than a cellphone.
Since the advent of the smartphone, the need for a large, heavy portable computer has diminished. More advanced models have become thinner and more powerful, and most are able to replace the need for a full-size desktop unit.