based on tiny integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines, and occupy a fraction of the space. Simple computers are small enough to fit into a wristwatch, and can be powered by a watch battery. Personal computers in their various forms are icons of the Information Age, what most people think of as a "computer", but the embedded computers found in devices ranging from fighter aircraft to industrial robots, digital cameras, and children's toys are the most umerous.The ability to store and execute lists of instructions called programs makes computers extremely versatile, distinguishing them from calculators. The Church–Turing thesis is a mathematical statement of this versatility: any computer with a certain minimum capability is, in principle, capable of performing the same tasks that any other computer can perform. Therefore computers ranging from a personal digital assistant to a supercomputer are all able to perform the same omputational tasks, given enough time and storage capacity.The first use of the word "computer" was recorded in 1613, referring to a person who carried out calculations, or computations, and the word continued to be used in that sense until the middle of the 20th century. From the end of the 19th century onwards though, the word began to take on its more familiar meaning, decribing a machine that carries out computations.The history of the modern computer begins with two separate technologies—automated calculation and programmability—but no single device can be identified as the earliest computer, partly because of the inconsistent application of that term. Examples of early mechanical calculating devices include the abacus, the slide rule and arguably the astrolabe and the Antikythera mechanism (which dates from about 150–100 BC). Hero of Alexandria (c. 10–70 AD) built a mechanical theater which performed a play lasting 10 minutes and was operated by a complex system of ropes and drums that might be considered to be a means of deciding which parts of the mechanism performed which actions and when. This is the essence of programmability.The "castle clock", an astronomical clock invented by Al-Jazari in 1206, is considered to be the earliest programmable analog computer. It displayed the zodiac, the solar and lunar orbits, a crescent moon-shaped pointer travelling across a gateway causing automatic doors to open every hour, and five robotic musicians who played music when struck by levers operated by a camshaft attached to a water wheel. The length of day and night could be re-programmed to compensate for the changing lengths of day and night throughout the year.The end of the Middle Ages saw a re-invigoration of European mathematics and engineering. Wilhelm Schickard's 1623 device was the first of a number of mechanical calculators constructed by European engineers, but none fit the modern definition of a computer, because they could not be programmed.In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard made an improvement to the textile loom by introducing a series of punched paper cards as a template which allowed his loom to weave intricate patterns automatically. The resulting Jacquard loom as an important step in the development of computers because the use of punched cards to define woven patterns can be viewed as an early, albeit limited, form of programmability.It was the fusion of automatic calculation with programmability that produced the first recognizable computers. In 1837, Charles Babbage was the first to conceptualize and design a fully programmable mechanical computer, his analytical engine. Limited finances and Babbage's inability to resist tinkering with the design meant that the device was never completed.In the late 1880s Herman Hollerith invented the recording of data on a machine readable medium. Prior uses of machine readable media, above, had been for control, not data. "After some initial trials with paper tape, he settled on punched cards ..." To process these punched cards he invented the tabulator, and the key punch machines. These three inventions were the foundation of the modern information processing industry. Large-scale automated data processing of punched cards was performed for the 1890 United States Census by Hollerith's company, which later became the core of IBM. By the end of the 19th century a number of technologies that would later prove useful in the realization of practical computers had begun to appear: the punched card, Boolean algebra, the vacuum tube (thermionic valve) and the teleprinter.During the first half of the 20th century, many scientific computing needs were met by increasingly sophisticated analog computers, which used a direct mechanical or electrical model of the problem as a basis for computation. However, these were not programmable and generally lacked the versatility and accuracy of modern digital computers.George Stibitz is internationally recognized as a father of the modern digital computer. While working at Bell Labs in November of 1937, Stibitz invented and built a relay-based calculator he dubbed the "Model K" (for "kitchen table", on which he had assembled it), which was the first to use binary circuits to perform an arithmetic operation. Later models added greater sophistication including complex arithmetic and programmability.A succession of steadily more powerful and flexible computing devices were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s, gradually adding the key features that are seen in modern computers. The use of digital electronics (largely invented by Claude Shannon in 1937) and more flexible programmability were vitally important steps, but defining one point along this road as "the first digital electronic computer" is difficult (Shannon 1940). Notable achievements include:EDSAC was one of the first computers to implement the stored program (von Neumann) architecture. * Konrad Zuse's electromechanical "Z machines". The Z3 (1941) was the first working machine featuring binary arithmetic, including floating point arithmetic and a measure of programmability. In 1998 the Z3 was proved to be Turing complete, therefore being the world's first operational computer. * The non-programmable Atanasoff–Berry Computer (1941) which used vacuum tube based computation, binary numbers, and regenerative capacitor memory. The use of regenerative memory allowed it to be much more compact then its peers (being approximately the size of a large desk or workbench), since intermediate results could be stored and then fed back into the same set of computation elements. * The secret British Colossus computers (1943), which had limited programmability but demonstrated that a device using thousands of tubes could be reasonably reliable and electronically reprogrammable. It was used for breaking German wartime codes. * The Harvard Mark I (1944), a large-scale ctromechanical computer with limited programmability. * The U.S. Army's Ballistics Research Laboratory IAC (1946), which used decimal arithmetic and is sometimes called the first general purpose electronic computer (since Konrad Zuse's Z3 of 1941 used electromagnets instead of electronics). Initially, however, ENIAC had an inflexible architecture which essentially required rewiring to change its programming.everal developers of ENIAC, recognizing its flaws, came up with a far more flexible and elegant design, which came to be known as the "stored program architecture" or von Neumann architecture. This design was first formally described by John von Neumann in the paper First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC, distributed in 1945. A number of projects to develop computers based on the stored-program architecture commenced around this time, the first of these being completed in Great Britain. The first to be demonstrated working was the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM or "Baby"), while the EDSAC, completed a year after SSEM, was the first practical implementation of the stored program design. Shortly thereafter, the machine originally described by von Neumann's paper—EDVAC—was completed but did not see full-time use for an additional two years.Nearly all modern computers implement some form of the stored-program architecture, making it the single trait by which the word "computer" is now defined. While the technologies used in computers have changed dramatically since the first electronic, general-purpose computers of the 1940s, most still use the von Neumann architecture.icroprocessors are miniaturized devices that often implement stored program CPUs.omputers using vacuum tubes as their electronic elements were in use throughout the 1950s, but by the 1960s had been largely replaced by transistor-based machines, which were smaller, faster, cheaper to produce, required less power, and were more reliable. The first transistorised computer was demonstrated at the University of Manchester in 1953. In the 1970s, integrated circuit technology and the subsequent creation of microprocessors, such as the Intel 4004, further decreased size and cost and further inc light unit. The rechargeable battery required is charged from an AC/DC adapter and typically stores enough energy to run the laptop for two to three ours in its initial state, depending on the configuration and power management of the omputer.Laptops are usually shaped like a large notebook with thicknesses between 0.7–1.5 inches (18–38 mm) and ensions ranging from 10x8 inches (27x22cm, 13" display) to 15x11 inches (39x28cm, 17" display) and up. Modern laptops weigh 3 to 12 pounds (1.4 to 5.4 kg); older laptops were usually heavier. Most laptops are designed in the flip form factor to protect the screen and the keyboard when closed. Modern 'tablet' laptops have a complex joint between the keyboard housing and the display, permitting the display panel to twist and then lay flat on the keyboard housing. They usually have a touchscreen display and some include handwriting recognition or graphics drawing capability.Laptops were originally considered to be "a small niche market" and were thought suitable mostly for "specialized field applications" such as "the military, the Internal Revenue Service, accountants and sales representatives". Battery-powered portable computers had just 2% worldwide market share in 1986. But today, there are already more laptops than desktops in businesses, and laptops are becoming obligatory for student use and more popular for general use. In 2008 more laptops than desktops were sold in the US and according to a forecast by the research firm IDC and Intel, the same milestone will be achieved in the worldwide PC market as soon as 2009.Contents[hide] * 1 History * 2 Classification o 2.1 As replacement o 2.2 Notebook o 2.3 Subnotebook o 2.4 Netbook o 2.5 Rugged Laptop * 3 Components o 3.1 Docking stations o 3.2 Standards * 4 Advantages * 5 Disadvantages o 5.1 Performance o 5.2 Upgradeability o 5.3 Ergonomics and health o 5.4 Durability o 5.5 Security * 6 Major brands and manufacturers * 7 Sales * 8 See also * 9 References Historyain article: History of laptopshe Epson HX-20As the personal computer became feasible in the early 1970s, the idea of a portable personal computer followed. In particular, a "personal, portable information manipulator" was imagined by Alan Kay at Xerox PARC in 1968 and described in his 1972 paper as the "Dynabook".The I.B.M. 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 I.B.M. 5100, the first commercially available portable computer, appeared in September 1975, and was based on the SCAMP prototype.As 8-bit CPU machines became widely accepted, the number of portables increased rapidly. The Osborne 1 used the Zilog Z80, weighed 23.5 pounds (10.7 kg). It had no battery, only a tiny 5" CRT screen and dual 5¼" single-density floppy drives. In the same year the first laptop-sized portable computer, the Epson HX-20, was announced. The Epson had a LCD screen, a rechargeable battery and a calculator-size printer in a 1.6 kg (4 pounds) chassis. Both Tandy/Radio Shack and HP also produced portable computers of varying designs during this period.The first laptop using the clamshell design, used today by almost all laptops, appeared in 1982. The $8150 GRiD Compass 1100 was used at NASA and by the military among others. The Gavilan SC, released in 1983, was the first notebook marketed using the term "laptop".From 1983 onwards: * Several new input techniques were developed and included in laptops: the touchpad (Gavilan SC, 1983), the pointing stick (IBM ThinkPad 700, 1992) and handwriting recognition (Linus Write-Top, 1987). * Some CPUs were designed specifically for low power use (including laptops (Intel i386SL, 1990), and were supported by dynamic power management features (Intel SpeedStep and AMD PowerNow!) in some designs. * Displays reached VGA resolution by 1988 (Compaq SLT 286) and 256-color screens by 1993 (PowerBook 165c), progressing quickly to millions of colors and high resolutions. * High-capacity hard drives and optical storage (CD-ROM followed CD-R and CD-RW and eventually by DVD-ROM and the writable varieties) became available in laptops soon after their introduction to the desktops.Early laptops often had proprietary and incompatible system architectures, operating systems, and bundled applications, making third party hardware and software difficult and sometimes impossible to develop.reased speed and reliability of computers. By the 1980s, computers became sufficiently small and cheap to replace simple mechanical controls in domestic appliances such as washing machines. The 1980s also witnessed home computers and the now ubiquitous personal computer. With the evolution of the Internet, personal computers are becoming as common as the television and the telephone in the household.