Mobile Computers - Portable Computing Devices

Portable Computing Devices

Several categories of portable computing devices can run on batteries but are not usually classified as laptops: portable computers, keyboardless tablet PCs, Internet tablets, PDAs, ultra mobile PCs (UMPCs) and smartphones.

  • A portable computer is a general-purpose computer that can be easily moved from place to place, but cannot be used while in transit, usually because it requires some "setting-up" and an AC power source. The most famous example is the Osborne 1. Portable computers are also called a "transportable" or a "luggable" PC.
  • A tablet computer that lacks a keyboard (also known as a non-convertible tablet) is shaped like a slate or a paper notebook. Instead a physical keyboard it has a touchscreen with some combination of virtual keyboard, stylus and/or handwriting recognition software. Tablets may not be best suited for applications requiring a physical keyboard for typing, but are otherwise capable of carrying out most of the tasks of an ordinary laptop.
  • A personal digital assistant (PDA) is a small, usually pocket-sized, computer with limited functionality. It is intended to supplement and to synchronize with a desktop computer, giving access to contacts, address book, notes, e-mail and other features.
  • A PDA with a web browser is an Internet tablet, an Internet appliance in tablet form. It does not have as much computing power as a full tablet computer and its applications suite is limited, and it can not replace a general purpose computer. Internet tablets typically feature an MP3 and video player, a web browser, a chat application and a picture viewer.
  • An ultra mobile PC is a full-featured, PDA-sized computer running a general-purpose operating system.
  • A smartphone has a wide range of features and installable applications.
  • A carputer is installed in an automobile. It operates as a wireless computer, sound system, GPS, and DVD player. It also contains word processing software and is bluetooth compatible.
  • A Fly Fusion Pentop Computer is a computing device the size and shape of a pen. It functions as a writing utensil, MP3 player, language translator, digital storage device, and calculator.

Boundaries that separate these categories are blurry at times. For example, the OQO UMPC is also a PDA-sized tablet PC; the Apple eMate had the clamshell form factor of a laptop, but ran PDA software. The HP Omnibook line of laptops included some devices small more enough to be called ultra mobile PCs. The hardware of the Nokia 770 internet tablet is essentially the same as that of a PDA such as the Zaurus 6000; the only reason it's not called a PDA is that it does not have PIM software. On the other hand, both the 770 and the Zaurus can run some desktop Linux software, usually with modifications.

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Famous quotes containing the words devices and/or portable:

    The gods being always close to men perceive those who afflict others with unjust devices and do not fear the wrath of heaven.
    Hesiod (c. 8th century B.C.)

    Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents’ pots and pans—the used things, warm with generations of human touch, ... essential to a human landscape. Instead, we have our paper phantoms, transistorized landscapes. A featherweight portable museum.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933)