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History And Issues Of Notebooks

Apr 9, 2008
A Notebook or commonly referred to as a laptop computer is a smaller version of the desktop computer. But its advantages are that all of its components it comes in one neat mobile notebook shaped digital display box, and is easily portable. It usually weighs around 2 to 17 pounds (1 to 8 kgs) depending on the make, materials and different other factors that come into play such as the parent company etc.

Notebooks run on a singular battery from (usually) an external AC/DC adapter. It charges the battery and in the meanwhile supplies power to the laptop too. Numerous `notebooks` have a 3 volt back-up cell to supply power during power failures and when in places where there is no steady power supply. Notebooks, as personal computers are worthy and capable of doing the same work as of desktop computers. But they are less powerful than their desktop counterparts at the same price. This is because of the fact that most parts used in desktop computers are miniaturized to fit into the slim notebook version of the machine.

Notebooks usually have LCD (liquid crystal displays) and they use separate memory modules for their RAM. Notebooks usually have a touchpad (or trackpad) for a mouse and an in-built keyboard. But external installments of these can also be attached if the user wants to do so.

The first commercially available laptop (the name notebook was not feasible at that time as they were much bigger than the versions available now) was the Osborne I in 1981. Though it was much heavier and had only a tiny CRT monitor, yet it had a revolutionary effect on the business and industrial sectors. The idea of taking back work to home was given a full new meaning. A better installment of the laptop or the `notebook` came in 1983. Compaq Portable was the first tech-product of Compaq and was a notebook version of the then hugely popular IBM Personal Computer. It became a hit as it was more IBM-compatible than portable from its predecessors!

But the first notebook was arguably the GRiD Compass 1101, released in 1982 by Bill Moggridge. The `clamshell` design, or the `notebook` design, where the LCD monitor remains shut against the keypad, was introduced. It was enclosed in a magnesium case, and could run on batteries. The first commercially successful notebooks were from the SupersPort series from Zenith Data Systems (ZDS), which competed with several other companies such as IBM, Toshiba, Compaq and others to notch up a deal with the U.S. Air Force for a contract of supplying 200,000 notebooks in 1987. This made the laptop popular and penetrative to the business and affordable price ranges to the common consumers.

Even though the notebook might seem a powerful and mobile genius of this age, it has its fallacies too. The major ones may be listed below.

Standardizing and weaker parts:

Parts of the notebook are miniaturized parts of desktop computers themselves and hence are weaker in comparison. The miniaturization process also takes a toll on the prices of the notebooks, which are generally higher priced than their desktop counterparts. Also, notebooks count a lot on steady power supply, even though supposed to be mobile, for a decent performance. Though, today technology has improved this negative facet of notebooks.

Durability Issues:

The portability, make, integrated composite structure and design of the notebooks make them more liable to shock, wear and physical damage than desktop computers. And the worst part is that the purchase value of a new LCD screen or motherboard, if damaged, is more than the whole purchasing value of the notebook itself!

Performance Issues:

Desktop computers are generally high performing machines when compared to notebooks of the same price range. This even though is being abolished slowly by improving cutting edge technology, this will not hold true. As energy and portability are prioritized goals for a notebook than absolute performance.

All in all, notebooks are the rage of the new generation today. And slowly but surely, the era of desktop computers is fading into oblivion.
About the Author
This article can be accessed in portuguese from the Article section of page www.polomercantil.com.br/notebook.php
Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for www.PoloMercantil.com.br
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