1.1: Comparing and Contrasting Personal Computers
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Computers were originally created for military, scientific, government and corporations – organizations with one common characteristic – large budgets! Fortunately, since the early days of computing, computers have simultaneously become more user-friendly and affordable giving rise the era of personal computing.
In 1977 Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs debuted the Apple-II personal computer. However, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that IBM introduced their personal computer (PC), and the personal computing era really became legitimate.
Personal Computers (PCs) are best described as small, inexpensive computers designed for individual use. Each of the following are examples of personal computers:
- Desktop computers – designed to utilize a consistent source of electric power, these computers fit on or beneath a desk, and therefore are not intended to be portable. Most desktops contain several peripheral input and output devices intended to extend the computing functionality.
- Laptop and Notebook computers – portable computers that utilize a battery for power. Consist of a separate display screen and keyboard in a single unit. Contains a hinged lid that closes the screen onto the keyboard for easy portability. Some screens are touch-activated displays.
- Tablets – thin mobile computers with touchscreen displays. Typically, larger than smartphones, tablets are ideal for reading eBooks, surfing the Web, and watching videos.
- Smartphones – pocket-sized mobile phones that combine voice, text, e-mail and personal computing into a single device that can access the Internet and run a variety of third-party software components, known as apps.
Modern desktop and laptop computers are generally either PCs, usually running a Microsoft Windows version operating system, or Apple Macintoshes, which run Apple’s proprietary operating system (OS) software. Various versions of the Linux OS also represent a relevant share of desktop and laptop users on a PC platform. However, according to several industry analysts, Microsoft’s Windows is the dominant OS in terms of shares of users, with estimates of more than half of all users in 2016.
The most popular mobile (tablets and smartphones) operating systems are Android (developed by Google), iOS (developed by Apple) and Windows 10 Mobile (developed by Microsoft).