The Computer on Your Lap

date: Feb 26, 2016

When Alan Kay first introduced his first computer “Dynabook”, a “personal, portable information manipulator” and a “personal computer for children of all ages”, also known

The Dynabook's original illustration in Alan C. Kay's 1972 Paper

as first prototype of laptop in 1972 (Kay, 1972), he never expected that laptop will be so well-known among people, and it has rooted deeply into people’s life. According to IDC, the shipments of laptops grows in a dramatic percentage of 33% in just one year, from 2006 to 2007. (Chen & Tsai, 2008). And its development is so fast that it evolves into more forms such as subnotebook, netbook and laplet. Laptop just deserves the name of “Game Changer”. Then why it is so popular? The following article will look into the reasons of its success, the condition under its success and the lasting impact of the laptop.

The beneficial of portability to the businessmen and students is the reason of the success of laptop. The portability of laptop changed how people work. People used to need to get two desktop computers to work at both the office and in home. It can be very difficult to transfer files. Microsoft even invented Briefcase for painlessly synchronize data between computers. (Microsoft, 2007) But with the laptop, you can work at anywhere at any time. It saves a lot of budgets, which made businessman fall in love with laptop. Just in 2001, it is said that about 21 percent of business traveler used laptop when staying in airport. (Ramirez, 2001). Besides businessmen, students are another group of people who benefits from laptops. Students can access and modify their homework easily, while learning the essential computer skills and other educational skills like mathematics and language skills on these portable devices. (Battro, 2010) The education will not be so easy and convenient without laptops. It transforms the ways teachers educate students.

And, the need of portability and the grown of the Internet leads the laptops to success. In the early stage of laptops, experts and business want to be able to bring their data around, which is the reason why the first mass-produced laptop is manufactured. (Felsenstein, 2009). As the time goes by, as the world are connected more closely, People need to process a lot of documents in a shorter time. With  new ways of the internet connection Wi-Fi, the popularity of laptops are growing vigorously in America, the laptop use in adult took over the desktop computer with 2 percent more as there are more and more people start using internet with around 80 percent of people. (Relatively Interesting, 2012)

The impact of laptops are huge and time-lapsing. With the help of the laptop, new technology of network connection such as Bluetooth and wireless hotspot are widely used. (Relatively Interesting, 2012) At the same time, more and more computer users choose to get a laptop than a desktop computer. (Pew Research Center, 2015)  Also, the laptop are so widely used that it evolved into a lot other forms to match people’s want. For example, netbook, invented by Intel, is a new form of laptops which is intended to provide public with simple internet access. (K@W Global Focus, 2008). What’s more important, it is continuing evolving until now. The newest form of laptops is laplet, also called 2-in-1 laptop, from Surface Series by Microsoft to iPad Pro by Apple, starting to occupy the market. (Peckham, 2015)

Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft

The laptop will continue evolving, benefiting people’s lives.  Although tablet seems to have a more and more important role in the computer family, and desktop computer is still essential for heavy work, the laptop can finally be in a form of combining all benefits of tablets and all great features of desktop computers, to be a real portable ultimate utility to help people get done real work. (Eadicicco, 2013) The future of the laptops will be bright and it will be rooted deeper in our daily lives. It will be on more people’s lap.


Battro, A. M. (2010, July 15). The impact of laptops in education | One Laptop per Child. Retrieved from One Laptop per Child:

Chen, Y., & Tsai, J. (2008, January 31). Worldwide notebook shipments grow 33% on year in 2007, says IDC. Retrieved from DIGITIMES:

Eadicicco, L. (2013, July 30). Your Laptop in 2018: The Future of Computing. Retrieved from Laptop Mag:

Felsenstein, L. (2009, October 19). The Fonly Institute: Osborne 0.1. Retrieved from The Fonly Institute:

K@W Global Focus. (2008, November 26). The Net Impact of Netbooks? It Depends on Who Uses Them for What. Retrieved from Knowledge@Wharton:

Kay, A. C. (1972). A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages. Xerox, Palo Alto Research Center. Palo Alto: Xerox PARC. Retrieved October 17, 2008, from

Microsoft. (2007, Janurary 1). How to Install and Use Briefcase, 1.2. (Microsoft) Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Microsoft Support:

Peckham, M. (2015, September 13). Apple’s iPad Pro proves Microsoft was always right about the Surface. Retrieved from TheNextWeb:

Pew Research Center. (2015). Three Technology Revolutions. Retrieved from Pew Research Center:

Ramirez, C. E. (2001, July 23). Laptop Lane a tech oasis Airport work station helps business travelers get job done while away: [No Dot Edition]. Detroit News, B.1.

Relatively Interesting. (2012, Februrary 23). Relatively Interesting Comparing today’s computer’s to 1995’s. Retrieved from Relatively Interesting:


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