Portable computers have become considerably smaller, thinner and lighter since they were first introduced in the early 1980’s, but size and weight are not the only parameters that have changed since the introduction of portable computers to the marketplace. Many other changes have occurred in terms of system performance, monitor technology, overall quality of the equipment and the addition of new system features – here are few of the most important recent developments in portable computer technology.


Increasing Variety

Initially, the term portable computer referred only to laptops, but little by little the sphere of reference of the term extended to include any device that has a keyboard and a display, is powered by a battery pack and also features options to connect to a power supply. Portable devices used to be large and bulky – the first laptops weighed around 24 pounds and they were comparable to a sewing machine in terms of size. Portable devices are nowadays are not only shrinking in size, but also growing in variety. Notebooks, tablets, PDA’s, smartwatches, smartbands and smartphones have all been recently added to the list of portable computers and there are new devices are being invented on a regular basis.


New Functions

Portable computers have also become more and more versatile over time. Initially, laptops were electronic word processors fitted with displays that were nothing like the advanced monitors we now use. Innumerable functions have been added since the early days. Some of them, such as floppy drives, have disappeared or are rarely used nowadays, while others, such as DVD drives, USB ports, microphones, speakers and cameras are still mainstays of modern portable computing. The components of portable devices are constantly evolving, adding new ways we can interact with our portable units. Here are a couple standouts:

  • Touch-enabled displays are now used not only in smartphones, but are becoming increasingly widespread in laptops as well.
  • Gesture controlled interaction is now considered state-of-the-art technology, but it is gradually becoming a mainstream feature.


Extended Battery Life

We use our laptops, tablets and smartphones for work and for entertainment, for surfing the internet and for sharing experiences all day long, or at least as long as the battery of the device allows us to. Portable devices have come a long way when it comes to battery life, but even today there are very few laptops that last for more than a few hours on one charge and smartphones also need quite frequent recharging, especially older models. Fortunately, researchers are already working on new technologies that could extend battery life for portable devices. According to a recent forecast, batteries that are able to supply the energy for an entire day even when the device is in continuous use are just around the corner.


More Compatibility

Portable devices nowadays efficiently communicate with any number of other devices, and we can expect rapid development compatibility-wise in the future as the internet of things becomes part of our daily lives. Laptops, smartphones and other smart devices can communicate not only with other computers and smartphones, but also with smart TV sets, smart watches and VR headsets and the future will certainly bring new devices and peripherals to connect to portable computers and smart devices.


Rugged Portable Devices
Along with all the recent advancements in functionality and form factor, there have also been tremendous developments in the durability of portable computer devices. Rugged portable computers use specialized motherboards and cases to make them impervious to the elements. These rugged systems are much more expensive, but can be used in the desert or out at sea.