The first laptop was developed in 1976 at Xerox PARC, but only 10 units were built. The first commercially available portable computer was introduced in 1981 and was named the Osborne 1. This unit was portable, but it did have limitations. The Osborne 1 had to be plugged in as it could not operate on batteries.
The first notebook style laptop was introduced in 1983 and was called the Tandy Model 100. This model featured a keyboard and an LCD display.
Laptops are very popular today. In fact, you could say that they are so integrated into our lives that some people NEED their laptop to operate. Not only is a laptop great for those that those long distances via car or plane, but laptops are great to go down to the coffee shop or take the commuter train to work. The battery lifetime of laptops has gotten better and better over the years. Nickel metal-hydride batteries were the main stay in laptop power. These batteries typically lasted two to five hours, but might drop down to an hour if doing power intensive computing. The battery performance for nickel metal-hydride batteries declines over time and should be replaced every one to three years. The more current battery in use in laptops is the lithium ion battery. This battery has many advantages over the nickel metal-hydride battery in that it has no memory effect, has a slow discharge rate of 5-10% per month (nickel metal-hydride has a discharge rate of 30% per month), it’s lighter in weight and more environmentally friendly than many other options. As with anything though, lithium ion batteries do have disadvantages such as they have a higher internal resistance and charge capacity decreases over time. Basically, both of these mean that the battery will degrade over time. New laptops are coming out with a lithium polymer battery. Both of these lithium technologies are pushing the limits of what was possible in laptop battery life. In fact, HP has a laptop, the Elitebook 6930p that allows for up to 24 hour operation if using the HP ultra-capacity battery.
Laptops are great and people want to use them everywhere, especially on the road. Laptops are great for playing games or watching movies while in the car, but you need to ensure they are powered because your battery may wear down and need to be charged if you are on a long road trip. That’s where a laptop car charger comes in! You have two options here. You can either get a charger specifically for your laptop or you can get an inverter. Either product will do the trick, but an inverter is a little more flexible. An inverter can be used for any device that needs AC power whereas a laptop charger will only charge a laptop (or items with equivalent power needs). An inverter may also have the ability to charge more than one laptop. Both laptop car chargers and inverters are about the same price – both start at $25.