- Portable computer
A portable computer is a
computerthat is designed to be moved from one place to another. Portable computers, by their nature, are microcomputers. Xerox NoteTaker, developed in 1976 at Xerox PARC, was the precursor to portable computers, though it remained a prototype and did not enter production.
The first portable computer was manufactured by GM Research, a small company in Santa Monica, California. The machine which was designed and patented ( [http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=4&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=%22portable+computer+enclosure%22.TI.&OS=TTL/%22portable+computer+enclosure%22&RS=TTL/%22portable+computer+enclosure%22 US Patent No. 4,294,496] ) by James Murez was first delivered to The Computer Store, Santa Monica, Ca in mid 1977. It was called the Micro Star and later changed the name to The Small One. Although Xerox claims to have designed the first such system, the machine by Murez predated anything on the market or that had been documented in any publication at the time - hence the patent was issued. As early as 1979 the U.S. Government was contracting to purchase these machines. Other major customers included Sandia Labs, General Dynamics, BBN (featured on the cover of their annual report in 1980 as the C.A.T. system) and several dozen private individuals and companies around the world. In 1979, Osborn viewed the machine along with several hundred other visitors at the first computer show that was sponsored by the IEEE Westec in Los Angeles. Later that year the machine was also shown at the first Comdex show.
The first mass-produced portable computer was the
Osborne 1, developed by Adam Osborne, which owed much to the NoteTaker's design. In January 1983, the first IBM PC compatibleportable computer (and indeed the first 100% IBM PC compatible, or "clone," of any kind) was the Compaq Portable. The first full-color portable computer was the Commodore SX-64in January 1984. Apple, Inc.introduced a portable Apple IIcin April 1984, but would not release a Macintosh Portableuntil 1989, though the original Macintosh was by its compact design, technically a portable.
The term "portable computer" is now almost exclusively used to refer to portable computers that are larger than a
laptop, often use conventional parts and usually do not run on batteries. Very few manufacturers remain for this type of computer, among them is Sterling Computer Sales. It should be noted that the Gaming PCmanufacturer LanSlide produces Portable, top-of-the-line Gaming PCs exclusively, having designed a backpack that can carry the box-shaped computer, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and some games (the PCs are intended for LAN gaming parties). Smaller portable computers are also known as mobile computers. They are referred to by their more specific terms:
laptop(or notebook) with a flat panel displayand keyboard, requiring a seated position and both hands. A relatively recently introduced modification has been the Tablet PC, which essentially is a laptop operated with a stylus on a touch-sensitive screen. See also desktop replacement computer, a large laptop designed to perform all of the functions of a desktop computer.
sub-notebookwhich is something between a laptop and a PDA. They have a full keyboard (though often in reduced size), 11-13" screens and usually no internal optical drive.
pocket computer, which was mostly a phenomenon of the 1980s, and combined the features of an alphanumeric calculator, a small home computer(usually programmable in BASIC), and a PDA. Manufacturers of these included Tandy/Radio Shack, Hewlett-Packard, Casio, and Sharp Corporation.
personal digital assistant(PDA), usually held in one hand and operated with the other.
wearable computerwith handsfreeinterface, and usually some voice capability ( speech recognitionand speech synthesis).
Portable computers have been increasing in popularity over the past decade, as they do not restrict the user in terms of mobility as a
desktop computerwould. Wireless Internet, extended battery life and more comfortable ergonomicshave been factors driving this increase in popularity. All-in-One PCs such as the iMaccan also be considered portable computers and often have handles built-in to the case.
Personal digital assistant(PDA)
DYSEACThe Second Standards Electronic Automatic Computer. DYSEAC was a first-generation computer built by the National Bureau of Standards for the US Army Signal Corps. It was housed in a truck, making it one of the first portable computers (perhaps the first). It went into operation in April 1954.
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