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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Notebook Computer Displays: An Analysis

Computer displays have been around for quite some time, and during recent times, have evolved far more rapidly than their computer and notebook computer counterparts. Primary reason can the advancing technology, which is in turn is lowering the cost of manufacturing. However, we can’t deny the fact that displays have come a long way from their humble origins of Cathode Ray Television (CRT) receivers. 

Originally, computer monitors were mainly used for data processing and high end research. Until the early 1980s, they were known as video display terminals and were physically attached to the computer and keyboard. The monitors were monochrome, flickered and the image quality was mostly poor. In 1981 however, IBM introduced the Color Graphics Adapter, which could display four colors with a resolution of 320 by 200 pixels. In 1984 IBM introduced the Enhanced Graphics Adapter which was capable of producing 16 colors and had a resolution of 640 by 350. CRT monitors had the advantage of being cheap and offering a viewing angle of 180 degrees. However, the significant disadvantage was that CRTs were bulky, and were in no position to be absorbed in a Notebook Computer

However, with the advent of notebook computer, a new kind of display technology was needed. And so came Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) in the picture. There are multiple technologies that have been used to implement LCDs. Throughout the 1990s, the primary use of LCD technology as computer monitors was in notebook computer where the lower power consumption, lighter weight, and smaller physical size of LCDs justified the higher price versus a CRT. Commonly, the same notebook computer would be offered with an assortment of display options at increasing price points. During the 2000s TFT LCDs (active matrix color), a variant of LCD, gradually displaced CRTs and eventually became the primary technology used for computer monitors. The now common active matrix TFT-LCD technology also has less flickering than CRTs, which reduces eye strain, and are mostly used in 7" Computer and mini netbook.
While LCDs were dominating the notebook computer scenario, they had the distinct disadvantage of low contrast and response time. Furthermore, using multiple screens had the demerit of causing flickers on higher refresh rate settings. To solve this problem, a new breed of computer displays were invented, called Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED). An OLED is basically a light-emitting diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compounds which emit light in response to an electric current. This layer of organic semiconductor material is situated between two electrodes. Due to their higher contrast and better viewing angles than LCDs, they are immediately replacing LCDs as primary display device for notebook computers. The only disadvantage of OLED is perhaps its high cost of manufacturing, but that is expected to fall down with advancement of manufacturing technology and higher demand. 

One can therefore conclude the fact that display technology is advancing an exponential rate, with notebook computer getting the most of the benefits.

A Glance at Netbooks and Mini Netbooks

Netbooks are a category of small, lightweight, legacy-free, and inexpensive laptop computers. Basically, they are a category of smaller notebooks, optimized for low weight and low cost with certain features such as optical drives omitted to reduce cost and weight. Often, netbooks feature smaller screens and keyboards, and offer reduced computing power when compared to a full-sized laptop. Over the course of their evolution, netbooks have ranged in size from below 5" screen (mini netbook) to 12". Some variations of 7" Computer as notebook computers can also be seen. A typical weight of a netbook is within the range of 1 – 1.2 kg.
Mini Netbook
Speaking of functionalities, netbooks typically have less powerful hardware than larger laptop computers. Some mini netbooks do not even have a conventional hard drive. Such netbooks use solid-state storage devices instead, as these require less power, are faster, lighter, and generally more shock-resistant, but with much less storage capacity. All netbooks on the market today support Wi-Fi wireless networking and many can be used on mobile telephone networks with data capability. Some also include ethernet and/or modem ports, for broadband or dial-up Internet access, respectively. Regarding operating system, netbooks often go with freeware operating system such as Linux or Andriod to save costs. It’s no wonder that Netbook Android sales have been sky rocketing these recent times. Part reason of this success by Netbook Android can be credited to the works taken up by Google to further their domain. Chief among it was the introduction of Google Chrome OS, which is a mini netbook specific Operation System. 
The main use of a netbook can perhaps be seen in the education sector. Netbooks are a growing trend in education for several reasons. The need to prepare children for 21st century lifestyles, combined with hundreds of new educational tools that can be found online, and a growing emphasis on student centered learning are three of the biggest contributing factors to the rising use of Netbook technology in schools. Lots of Mini Netbook are given up several countries all over the world to support education. For example, Greece is providing all 13 year old students and their teachers with free kids computer from 2009.
These type of kids computer or netbooks offer several distinct advantages in educational settings. First, their compact size and weight make for an easy fit in student work areas. Similarly, the small sizes make netbooks easier to transport than heavier, larger sized traditional laptops. In addition, prices ranging from $200–$600 dollars mean the affordability of Netbooks can be a relief to school budget makers. Despite the small size and price, these mini netbooks are fully capable of accomplishing most school-related tasks, including word processing, presentations, access to the Internet, multimedia playback, and photo management. 
Concluding on, we can say that the mini netbooks are instrumental in shaping our way of life, primarily in education sector. Their small size amounts for the extreme portable advantage that they offer.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Desktop vs Netbook Computers: A Detailed Study

The desktop vs Notebook Computers war can be traced back as early as 1970s, when the concept of portable computers was born. The desktops dominated the scene of computers for quite some time with their large processing power and mammoth memory space, which seemed to be on an exponential rise year after year. However, despite desktops offering far more processing power for the same amount of green, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that laptops (also known as Notebook Computers) have been outselling them by a substantial margin for the past few years.

The concept of a Netbook Computers can be traced back all the way to the 1970’s, but it wasn’t till the 2000’s that the idea really materialized. This was only made possible due to the shrinkage in the size of transistors (fabrication process) which occurs every two years. The processors manufactured with the new fabrication process always offer lesser power consumption and heat dissipation than their predecessor, and also the ability to fir more transistors on the same die, resulting in better performance.  In the early years of the millennium, Laptops were overly expensive and seemed like a luxury for the upper class. But in the years that followed, the gap between desktops and laptops was further bridged.

There was a time when notebook computers were synonymous with portability, not any more. Consumer demands constantly evolve, and these notebook computers just wouldn’t cut the edge any more. Not everyone would find it convenient to carry a laptop (with or without a case), when they’ve got a bag or briefcase filled to the brim in the other hand.  It might be perhaps for this very reason that many were ready to sacrifice computational power for a smaller form factor, and hence, the mini netbook was born.  Ranging in screen sizes from 7" Computer to 11", these devices gave a whole new meaning to portability. Despite its miniscule size, these mini netbooks made no compromises when it came to basic work functions such as using MS Office Documents or Internet surfing. 

They didn’t burn a hole in the wallet either.  As the years passed by, mini netbooks paved the way for many more portable devices such as Smartphones, and of course, tablets. These devices continue to offer more and more in terms of functionality and features, while still maintaining its small form factor.  Most thanks go to Operating Systems such as Windows Mobile, iOS and Android which are constantly updated. 

Despite these recent advances in notebook computers, one still can’t ignore the gigantic computing powers that are encapsulated within the domain of a traditional desktop. Hence it’s a no wonder that specialists, such as gamers or multimedia creators, still prefer desktops over the laptops. In the end however, it all depends on the type of customers. Working professionals would use mini netbooks to keep track of their office works, and users requiring more performance at less cost would stick with Desktops.

Types of Netbook Android: A Walkthrough

Selling of laptops or notebook computers have been on an exponential rise these days, beating their desktop counterparts to a large margin. And perhaps an important reason to this meteoritic rise is because of the fact that laptops comes in many different varieties, catering to several type of customers. Desktops, even if they are very versatile and efficient in the processors, come mostly in the same box and shell, with little variation in the accessories that are supplied with them. It’s for these reasons that notebook computers outsell desktops. 

Talking about variety, a notebook computer comes in several shapes and sizes. These include Full size laptops, Netbooks and the recent Tablet PCs. Full size laptops are large enough to accommodate a full-size keyboard and a minimum of 11 inches of screen size.  Netbooks are a breed of smaller, lighter and more portable laptop. These also come into several variations, such as Mini Netbook and Netbook Android. 

Netbook Android is usually of very low cost than a full-size laptop owing to their ultra small size and free OS, but they also have fewer features and less computing power. Plus they have the disadvantage of having smaller keyboards, which can be sometimes very difficult to operate. Further, these Mini Netbooks usually don’t come with an optical drive. Tablet PCs are touch screen based laptops, where the screen doubles as the keyboard to be accessed by touch screen only. They usually come in a slate form factor, with the most famous being Ipad by Apple. 

There’s also another type of laptops called Rugged laptops, which are engineered to operate in tough conditions (mechanical shocks, extreme temperatures, wet and dusty environments, etc.), and hence are mostly used by scientists or the travelling customers. Rugged laptops are usually designed from scratch, rather than adapted from regular consumer laptop models. These notebooks are bulkier, heavier, and much more expensive than regular laptop. 

Another ultraportable type mini netbook, or a subnotebook, is a laptop designed and marketed with an emphasis on portability (small size, low weight and often longer battery life) that retains performance close to that of a standard notebook. Subnotebooks are usually smaller and lighter than standard laptops, weighing between 0.8 and 2 kg (2 to 5 pounds), with the battery life reaching up to 10 hours. Often, people mistake subnotebook as Mini Netbook, but one must note that there is a distinct thin line between subnotebook and Mini Netbook. Another category of laptops exist for the customers demanding more power for the money. These bulky laptops serve as counterparts to their desktop brothers, and are aptly named as Desktop Replacement Laptops. Examples include Media Center Laptop or a dedicated Gaming Laptop. 

Concluding on, one can clearly see the variety that engulfs the notebook computers in these modern times. And this variety, along with the added advantage of portability in every shape and size, gives these laptops an edge in the consumer electronics market.

Notebook Computers: A Brief History

A laptop, also called a notebook computer, is a personal computer for mobile use. A laptop integrates most of the typical components of a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device and speakers into a single unit. A laptop is powered by mains electricity via an AC adapter, and can be used away from an outlet using a rechargeable battery. The veracity of a notebook computer lies in the fact that it’s portable. One can carry a laptop around and carry all the functionalities of a traditional desktop with them. The significant rise in the demand and supply of the laptop is testimony to the growing penetration of a notebook computer over the desktop. It’s a no wonder that modern day laptops are integral for our day to day activities related to the technological world.

However, such integration of a laptop wouldn’t have had come, if not for the works put up by IBM to develop a portable minicomputer in the 70s. For this purpose, the IBM SCAMP project (Special Computer APL Machine Portable), was demonstrated in 1973. This prototype was based on the PALM processor (Put All Logic in Microcode). The IBM 5100, the first commercially available notebook computer, appeared in September 1975, and was based on the SCAMP prototype. 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. From 1983 onward, several new input techniques were developed and included in notebook computer, including the touchpad, the pointing stick, and handwriting recognition. 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. Displays reached VGA resolution by 1988, and color screens started becoming a common upgrade in 1991 with increases in resolution and screen size occurring frequently until the introduction of 17"-screen laptops in 2003. 

Hard drives started to be used in portables, encouraged by the introduction of 3.5" drives in the late 1980s, and became common in laptops starting with the introduction of 2.5" and smaller drives around 1990; capacities have typically lagged behind physically larger desktop drives. Optical storage, read-only CD-ROM followed by writeable CD and later read-only or writeable DVD and Blu-Ray, became common in notebook computers soon in the 2000s.

Nowadays, laptops have emerged to the point of 7" Computer which defines a new standard in portability owing to their 7" TFT screen. These 7" Computer symbolizes the timeline and progress of the laptops, from the original IBM 5100 notebook computer to these portable 7" Notebook Computer. And now with mini tablets entering into the picture, one can see a new era of portability, shrinking these 7" Notebook Computer further down to redefine the laptops and ultra portability. To see a selection of these latest 7’’ Notebook Computers .