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Laptop and Netbook

A laptop is a battery or AC-powered personal computer that can be easily carried and used in a variety of locations.

A laptop integrates most of the typical components of a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device (a touchpad, also known as a trackpad, and/or a pointing stick) and speakers into a single unit.

The first laptops using the flip form factor appeared in the early 1980s. The Dulmont Magnum was released in Australia in 1981–82, but was not marketed internationally until 1984–85. The $8,150 ($18,540 today) GRiD Compass 1100, released in 1982, was used at NASA and by the military among others. The Gavilan SC, released in 1983, was the first computer described as a "laptop" by its manufacturer.

From 1983 onward, several new input techniques were developed and included in laptops, including the touchpad (Gavilan SC, 1983), the pointing stick (IBM ThinkPad 700, 1992) and handwriting recognition (Linus Write-Top, 1987). Some CPUs, such as the 1990 Intel i386SL, were designed to use minimum power to increase battery life of portable computers, and were supported by dynamic power management features such as Intel SpeedStep and AMD PowerNow! in some designs.

The term "laptop" can refer to a number of classes of small portable computers:

  • Full-size Laptop: A laptop large enough to accommodate a "full-size" keyboard (a keyboard with the minimum QWERTY key layout, which is at least 13.5 keys across that are on ¾ (0.750) inch centers, plus some room on both ends for the case). The measurement of at least 11 inches across has been suggested as the threshold for this class. The first laptops were the size of a standard U.S. "A size" notebook sheet of paper (8.5 × 11 inches), but later "A4-size" laptops were introduced, which were the width of a standard ISO 216 A4 sheet of paper (297 mm, or about 11.7 inches), and added a vertical column of keys to the right and wider screens. Can also be laid sideways when not in use.

  • Netbook: A smaller, lighter, more portable laptop. It is also usually cheaper than a full-size laptop, but has fewer features and less computing power. Smaller keyboards can be more difficult to operate. There is no sharp line of demarcation between netbooks and inexpensive small laptops; some 11.6" models are marketed as netbooks. Since netbook laptops are quite small in size, Netbooks typically do not come with an internal optical drive.

  • Tablet PC: these have touch screens. There are "convertable tablets" with a full keyboard where the screen rotates to be used atop the keyboard, and "slate" form-factor machines which are usually touch-screen only (although a few older models feature very small keyboards along the sides of the screen.)

  • Rugged: Engineered to operate in tough conditions (mechanical shocks, extreme temperatures, wet and dusty environments, etc.)

How is a Laptop different From a Desktop?

Touchpad: A touchpad (also called a trackpad) is a touch-sensitive pad that lets you control the pointer by making a "drawing" motion with your finger. Many touchpads now include multi-touch gestures, which allow you to perform specific tasks by making gestures with more than one finger. For example, a pinch gesture is often used to zoom in or out.

Battery: Every laptop has a battery which allows you to use the laptop when it's not plugged in. Whenever you plug the laptop in, the battery recharges. Another benefit of having a battery is that it can provide backup power to the laptop if the power goes out.

AC Adapter: A laptop usually has a specialized power cable called an AC adapter, which is designed to be used with that particular kind of laptop. Some of these cables use magnetic MagSafe connectors that will safely pull out if someone trips over the power cable. This helps to prevent damage to the cable and the laptop.

Ports: Most laptops have the same types of ports that desktop computers have (such as USB), although they usually have fewer ports to save space. However, some ports may be different, and you may need an adapter in order to use them. For example, the monitor port is often a Mini Display Port, which is a smaller version of the normal Display Port.

What is a Netbook ?

A netbook is a type of laptop that is designed to be even more portable. Netbooks are often cheaper than laptops or desktops. 

They are generally less powerful than other types of computers, but they provide enough power for email and internet access, which is where the name "netbook" comes from.

In order to save space, netbooks generally have smaller screens and keyboards. Many netbooks also lack certain hardware such as optical drives. However, there are many different models available, and in some cases there isn't much difference between a large netbook and a "regular" laptop.

Since netbooks are less powerful, they sometimes use a more simplified operating system. Most new netbooks use Windows 7 Starter, but some use simplified versions of Linux.

Last updated on: 02/10/2019


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