Ultra-Portables, Laptops, and Desktops, oh, my!
When laptop computers first arrived on the scene, it was mostly professionals who bought them. Indeed, they were the only ones who could justify the much larger expense for a portable computer. Netbooks seemed like a passing fad just a year ago, but now professionals are asking what are these netbook things all about anyway, and where did they come from?
There was a time, when a professional’s only option was a desktop computer. Portable computers were a fantasy, in fact, many regular computers took two people and a cart or dolly to move from one place to another, and just forget about the monitor. Then came laptop computers, portable computers that could be held in the lap.
Professionals of all colors flocked to these portable computers, though most of them continued to use them on desks, tables, chairs, filing cabinets, or anything else they could find, using their lap as a last resort. Portable meant that it was portable enough to be moved from one office to another, not that you could take it everywhere with you.
With useful synchronization between computers still a few years away, many opted for high-powered laptop computers. That way, you could take your computer with you to Cincinnati on a business trip without worrying about copying files from your regular computer, and when you got back to Denver, you still had everything you worked on while you were out of town.
As the laptop market matured, there were two options in the realm of high-end laptop computing. On one end, there were laptops whose power and features rivaled desktop computers. These laptops were primarily the tools of choice for professionals with no other computer; it was both their main computer AND their portable computer.
On the other end of the spectrum were super-light laptop computers with high-end, high-cost, low-power, low-heat components that permitted the laptop to be carried everywhere, whether to meetings, or to grab a cup of coffee with a friend or colleague. They were slickly marketed by showing how they could fit in a manila envelope or disappear into a pad folio.
In between these two high-end segments, professionals who could not justify an expenditure in the thousands of dollars for a portable computer got heavier less powerful laptops. If it took 8.6 lbs, then so be it. While these laptops had enough power for professional uses, their weight inspired plenty of business in the rolling briefcase industry and a boom in the laptop bag business as well.