What Is A Laptop? A Look Into The Portable Computers!

For PC users, Laptops are the saviors. Or I better say that they are the best thing that has ever happened to PC users. I remember, there was a time when I used to be heavily dependent on my extra bulky desktop computer for college homework. Although that was a pretty great machine both for homework and videogames, it lacked a few privileges that I could have otherwise if I had a laptop.

what is a laptop
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Portability was the number one and much-needed privilege that I couldn’t enjoy all because my desktop computer was too big to carry.

Seeing my college friends equipped with Laptops was an eye-opener for me. And that’s when I realized, I have to get a Laptop if I want to get instant access to the internet or to my personal stuff anywhere and anytime.

Gladly, I was able to get a Laptop in the last 2nd last year at college. Hence, I no longer had to go home to use the computer to do the assignments. Instead, now I could sit in the library with my friends and access my assignments via the Laptop. Admittedly, that was such a relief to me. Enough of the details about my experience, today’s chapter is about Laptops.

What Is A Laptop?

A Laptop is a portable personal computer that features a rechargeable battery, screen, keyboard, touchpad, and almost every other hardware a desktop computer has. Comparatively, it functions the same way as a desktop computer at the cost of less power consumption. A Laptop is lighter in weight and smaller in size which makes it the best computing option. Once charged, a Laptop can run for several hours uninterruptedly.

History Of Laptops

After commercially built general-purpose computers invaded the market in the mid-1970s, the industry of computers started to boom. Realizing the commercial potential of the computers, the developers strived hard to make faster and smaller computing machines.

This eventually led to the development of small-sized computers that weighed a few times less than bulky desktop computers and could be carried anywhere. Throughout the 1970s, a number of such small computers were built. For example, introduced in 1975, the IBM 5100 was a small and portable computer powered by a 16-bit processor. It was IBM’s first commercially built portable computing device.

However, IBM is not credited with building the first-ever Laptop. Rather, the credit for introducing the first-ever Laptop goes to Adam Osborne who built the Osborne 1 portable computer in 1981. Weighed more than a couple of dozen pounds, Osborne 1 is widely recognized as the first-ever Laptop.

Osborne 1 was a remarkable commercial achievement for Adam Osborne and his company Osborne Computer Corporation. Despite the staggering price of $1800, Osborne 1 was able to attract a large number of computer enthusiasts.

In the year 1982, Japanese developer Yukio Yokozawa released a portable computer with a built-in printer called Epson HX-20. It was a powerful computing device supported by dual Hitachi 6301 CPUs at 614 kHz, 16Kb RAM, LCD screen, and Microsoft Basic Interpreter. Despite the additional features certainly, the built-in printer and LCD screen, the price of the Epson HX-20 was twice less than the Osborne 1. However, these the-then new features couldn’t help Epson HX-20 beat the Osborne 1.

Another small and portable computing device made it to the market in 1982. This was the Grid Compass supported by a magnesium case. Based on bubble memory, Grid Compass remained out of the reach of personal computer users due to its extremely high price tag of around $10k.

Osborne 1 carried on its journey as the elite Laptop for the next couple of years. While some big attempts were made, It was still hard to beat Osborne 1. In 1983, Radio Shack introduced a portable computer called the TRS-80 Model 100 which featured 32Kb RAM and an LCD screen. It looked more like early calculators but with a bigger screen. Made by Kyocera, the TRS-80 Model 100
is often regarded as the first notebook-style computing device.

In the following years, laptop devices such as Bondwell2 and Kaypro 2000 with enhanced features appeared in the growing industry of portable computers. These portable computing systems featured flip-up LCDs and floppy disks as very new features.

The seriously major breakthrough in the industry of portable computers came in the form of the Toshiba 1100. First marketed in 1985, It featured the same specifications as the IBM desktop PCs. Unlike other laptops, it was powered by a floppy disk for data storage. At the whopping price of around $1900, the device offered 256KB RAM and 4.77 MHz Intel 80C88 CPU for an elite-level experience.

Seeing the success of the portable computers, Compaq Computer decided to launch their own version of such computing devices. As a result, Compaq SLT/286 came into existence in 1988. Compaq’s first-ever portable computer also became the first one to feature an internal hard disk drive and VGA graphics.

So far unable to contribute to a the-then growing industry of Laptops, Apple introduced Macintosh Portable in September 1989. Featured Motorola 68000 at 16 MHz CPU, the Macintosh Portable was offered at the jaw-dropping price tag of $7300. The year 1989 marked the beginning of the Notebook era with the introduction of the Compaq LTE device. It was the first Notebook delivered by Compaq Computers to its customers.

Some great additions were made to the growing industry of Laptops In the next three years. These were Apple’s Macintosh PowerBook 100, 140, 170, and the legendary ThinkPad 700 by IBM. The generation of the 90s is pretty much aware of the popularity of the IBM ThinkPad 700 which came with a heavy specification of 25MHz Intel 486SLC processors and 4-16MB of RAM. For years, ThinkPad 700 was favored by customers over any other type of portable computer.

Following the success of the ThinkPad 700, IBM developed ThinkPad 775CD as the first Laptop to feature CD-ROM in the mid-1990s. The Laptop was supported by Intel Pentium 1 and 8-64MB of RAM. By the end of the 1990s, Laptops were getting quite close to competing with desktop computers.

In the early 2000s, Toshiba released the Portege M100 Laptop with the capability to provide a DVD-ROM drive. With the addition of heavy storage capacity, powerful processors, and advanced memory, the Laptops gave a tough time to desktop computers throughout the first decade of the 21st century.

Types Of Laptops

As highly demanding portable computing solutions, Laptops are divided into several types based on technology. To get an idea about the types of Laptops, jump to the following table.

NotebookThe ancestor to all other types of Laptops, a Notebook is a lightweight PC that weighs less than 5 pounds. Built for basic use, it can be easily transported from one place to another.
UltrabookUsually powered by an Intel processor and an SSD, an Ultrabook offers high-end performance.
ChromebookBased on Chrome OS, Chromebooks provide smart and secure cloud data storage options.
MacBookA MacBook is a type of Laptop known for speedy performance and is supported by macOS, Apple’s operating system.
NetbookNetbooks are the obsolete type of Laptops that were discontinued in 2013. They were built for low-level taskings such as web browsing and emails.

Benefits Of Laptops

A Laptop comes with a few noteworthy benefits that make it the best alternative to a desktop computer. Short and to the point, these benefits have been explained in the subheadings below.

Portable Computing Solution

Portability is the biggest benefit that comes with a Laptop. As a portable machine, a Laptop can be taken to anywhere without having to be worried about its weight. Whether you go to a nearby park or a dedicated library, you can put the Laptop in a bag and carry it with you. This super simple way of carrying the Laptop anywhere is what makes it the best computing device.

Offline Access

No matter if you don’t have an access to the main power, a Laptop can be used as an offline computing device. With a dedicated battery that runs for at least 4-5 hours, you can use the Laptop to perform basic or heavy tasks with an uninterrupted experience.

Wireless Internet Access

Unlike a desktop computer, a Laptop features a built-in Wi-Fi option offering a wireless internet connection. You don’t even have to even plug an internet device into the Laptop. Just power on the internet Wi-Fi device and the Laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi system would start running the internet on the Laptop.

Low Power Consumption

While Laptops deliver the same amount of performance as desktop computers, their power consumption rate is significantly lower than their rivals. The aspect of low power consumption often results in low power bills.

What’s the Average Cost Of A Laptop?

A Laptop with a set of general specifications such as a fast i3 Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of Drive should cost $700-$750. The said bracket of price would allow you to get a Laptop that would work well for you. However, that’s not the one and only price bracket for Laptops. If you expect a bit more advanced performance from a Laptop, you should be prepared to spend an additional $200-$300 or even more for the said price. For the elite performance and luxuries, you will have to pay as much as $1500-$1500.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

There are so many myths associated with Laptops that I can’t count them all on my fingers. From myth number one of short battery time to myth number two of expensive hardware components, none of them is true at all.

I believe it’s time for us to recognize the true value Laptops have added to our digital lives and get rid of the unnecessary myths that have nothing to do with this portable computing solution. Competing with bulky desktop machines, Laptops are an affordable, portable and reliable computing solution. As far as my opinion is concerned, I have found them to be good enough for work-related and personal use.

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Bilal Khan
Bilal Khan

Bilal might look like a Bearded Caucasian right out of a Viking movie but trust me he's a native Pakistani. He has a long list of hobbies among which staying updated on the Latest Technology and Hardware happens to be on the top. If you are looking for detailed hardware explanations through no tricky terminologies, follow him to read Tech Content curated perfectly for the human brain.

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