Lap Top Computers Term Paper

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History Of Laptop Computers

Laptop computers have truly changed and wiped out the idea of the "used to" and old-fashioned bulky computer machines. Aside from the desktop computer which was the first reduced-size computer, turning a "room-size" machine into a convenient desktop one, laptop computer is another technology that further makes computing convenient and easily transportable. Thanks to the creative vision of Alan Kay. An online source (History of the Laptop Computer) has the following description of Kay's vision of a laptop.

Kay imagined a laptop sized portable computer which he called the Dynabook which would have wireless network capabilities, excellent color graphics and tremendous computing power.

Kay had the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center to sponsor his Dynabook which was successfully completed and was later called "the Alto."

Some argues, on the other hand, that in 1979, it was William Moggridge of Grid Systems Corp. who designed the first laptop computer. Called as the Grid Compass, with 340Kb bubble memory, this laptop computer was used by NASA in early 1980's.

Though early laptop computers have been made, the first laptop computer that was considered as the real laptop machine was the Gavilian Computer. This was due to the basic features it had, which are common to the laptop computers of today. As indicated by Freudenrich, following is a list of these features.

64 kilobytes (expandable to 128 kilobytes) of Random Access Memory (RAM)

Gavilan Operating System (also ran MS-DOS)

8088 Microprocessor touchpad mouse portable printer weighed 9 lb (4 kg) alone or 14 lb (6.4 kg) with printer floppy drive that was specifically designed for the Gavilian computer and was not compatible to other computers

After the Gavilian Computer, Apple Computer also had their share in the technology of laptop computers. In 1984, the Apple IIc model was released, targeting the home and educational markets (Freudenrich, 2002).

In 1986, ushering the success of laptop computers in the market, IBM released its IBM PC Convertible (Freudenrich, 2002). As indicated by Freudenrich (2002) in his How Laptop Works, the following features ushered the success of laptop computer technology.

8088 microprocessor

256 Kb memory floppy disk drives serial and parallel ports space for an internal modem

Later, the success of IBM inspired Toshiba to develop its own laptop machines. Now, there are diverse companies that compete in the market of laptops.

Planned Effects of Laptop Computer

Alan Kay envisioned the laptop computer to handle all the necessary information that a user may need. The idea was to develop a computer that is portable and wireless, and that can assist students and teachers in classroom learning (Gasch). According to Gasch, Kay envisions a computer as follows.

Kay envisioned computers from a biological standpoint, theorizing that the ideal computer would function like a living organism. Every computer would function like a "cell"; it could join with other "cells" to approach a problem or reach a common goal.

Actual Effects of Laptop Computer

Alan Kay envisioned the laptop computer as a tool that can assist students and teachers in the classroom learning. Hence, after developing a prototype of his laptop computer, he made used of the students and schools to evaluate his design. Today, Alan Kay's vision has influenced much of the learning process of students, facilitating the methods of learning and teaching for both the students and teachers through laptop computers.

According to Ken Stevenson, in his study on the use of laptop computers by students,

Students, parents, and teachers felt after the first cycle of the laptop project that the computers were definitely related to improvement in certain skills and knowledge of the sixth graders.

The introduction of laptop computers in school had changed the way students, teachers, and parents view learning. It replaced the traditional methods of using just books, pen and paper, and chalk and board materials. In the continuous technological development, the use of laptop computers in schools enhances students' capabilities to learn more, allowing to update themselves on the current issues, whether technological or social ones.

In terms of drawbacks in the use of laptop computers in school, perhaps the first concerned issue is the decrease in the socialization level of students. The use of laptop computers was said to reduce the communication process of students among themselves, making them rely more on the enjoyable interactive process that laptop computers provide. However, in the study of Stevenson, he found at the end of his study that 85% of the students who participated believed that laptop computers can enhance their communication skills while 76% of the participating teachers believed the same.

Future Possible Effects of Laptop Computer

The trend of laptop computers is quite fast. Nowadays, new models keep on arriving within a quick span of time. That is, when you buy the latest model today, another model with better performance and features will be introduced in the market in just a few months time. According to Howard Locker (2003),

Only five years ago, wireless technology was used only by the Jetsons, many notebook PCs were still too slow to serve as desktop replacements, and brawny shoulder muscles were a prerequisite just to lift the things. Since then, notebooks have become truly mobile -- light, thin, high-powered solutions almost as common on desks as on airplane tray tables....The next five years bring more of the same -- faster processors, smaller chips and longer battery life.

This fast changing trend in laptop computer also changes the effects it brings to its users.

The future possible effects of laptop computer cover a wide area of possibilities. We can never tell what will come next as to how a laptop computer can help and facilitate our tasks. But one thing is sure, laptop computers will always provide us with better means in our business and communication endeavors. This can be proven by the many possibilities that laptop computers are serving nowadays, which before only seemed as futuristic ideas that were hard to develop and complete. For instance, the portability that a laptop computer features before is now more portable due to the wireless technologies of today. Before, the term portable only means that you can bring your laptop anywhere but only in places where there is an available port where you can connect to a network. Nowadays, however, portability truly means "portable." You can bring your laptop computer anywhere you want, and you can already connect to a network without the need to connect any cables to other ports. Thus, in terms of effects, new developments and features of laptop computers continue to make computing more and more convenient.

Despite of the many advances that the future may provide us in laptop technology, computing will remain a tool for us - performing and serving us with ways to what we need.

Definition of Technology

Based from the gathered information on laptop computer technology, technology can be defined as the innovation that provides better service and more convenient methods to humans. With technology, the process of doing things become easier and faster.

Technology means innovation that brings improvement and new developments through time.

It is a branch of science and computing, that with further research and study new innovations can be achieved. It involves the process of solving problems with human knowledge, and connecting or converting human tasks into machine-performed ones.

Generally, technology is the application of different tools, techniques, human knowledge, and intelligence, to meet and develop our needs of making things more convenient.


In the history of laptop computer, there are a few arguments as to who really develop the first laptop and which can be considered as the first and real laptop computer. However, base from the point as to who had the first idea of a portable computer, it was Alan Kay who envisioned the development of a laptop…[continue]

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