The Types and Differences of Ultraportable Laptops

Types of Ultraportable Computers
From Top to Bottom: Toshiba’s Portege Z830, Apple’s MacBook Air, Google’s Chromebook

As we talked about in our introduction to ultraportable laptops, ultraportables come in many different sizes, shapes, and configurations.

We looked briefly at the difference between ultraportable laptops, netbooks, and tablets: netbooks are outdated compact laptops which were built with all the features of a laptop but in a smaller form and with processing power limiting functions to 1-2 tasks at a time.  Tablets, on the other hand, were built with the same hardware and components as ultraportable laptops but are designed to be a balance between a laptop and a smartphone with appearance and design as defining factors.

Today we look at the different types of ultraportable laptops and what sets each apart from one another.  Everyone is a player in this emerging market with PC makers, Apple, and even Google all laying a stake with ultraportables.  As we’ll see the characteristics of weight, battery life, and hardware configuration set ultraportables apart but function and form also play a big role.  Additionally, each type is defined by their small contributions and enhancements to the laptop, such as wireless syncing and cloud based offerings.

Read on to learn about the different types of PC, Apple, and Google ultraportable laptops and how the MacBook Air from Apple and Google’s Chromebook add unique twists that set themselves apart from the others. Continue reading

Future Tech: The Advent of Cloud Computing

Advent of Cloud ComputingTechnology is an ever-shifting paradigm, as evidenced by the forthcoming Chromebook and last week’s announcement of Apple’s iCloud.  When I first started working with computers no one knew what an iPod was and very few people had palm pilots (remember those!?).  A major important shift that I’m seeing in technology nowadays is the move to the cloud or online based computing.  With this shift, I see several inherent drawbacks for users and businesses alike but there are also several areas of promise.  Over the next week I will take a look at the inherent drawbacks and the good possibilities that the future holds with the advent of cloud computing.  Additionally, we will be looking at the benefits of cloud computing and end users can benefit from this shift.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing can be a vague term meaning several things.  In the simplest sense the term can mean “online access to and storage of files and media traditionally stored one’s ‘local’ desktop”.  In a more pure form, cloud computing is referred to as “interconnected but independent web apps accessed in a strictly online sense with little or no dependence of a local computer or storage apparatus”.  The processing or ‘thinking’ power, a key component, is accomplished by the local machine in the first instance (largely described as a glorified online storage system with built-in sharing and viewing capabilities) and is handled by the online server rather than the local computer in the second definition, harkening back to the old ‘mainframe’ with a terminal which accesses different ‘offsite’ programs.  Whatever the chosen application, the way consumers interact with their files is changing and that change will present many hurdles for consumers and companies alike. Continue reading

The Google Chromebook is Almost Here

Google Chrome LogoA couple of weeks ago I posted a blurb on the LaptopMD Facebook Page sharing with you Google’s announcement of their newly announced Chromebook.  As you may remember, in February I previewed a pre-release Google laptop that I received and had an opportunity to ‘play’ with.

You can read the summary of the announcement on PCWorld but here are some important details regarding the recently announced Google Chromebook:

Availability: June 15th – You will be able to place orders through Amazon, BestBuy, and other retailers

Pricing: Google will offer two tiers of pricing.  You will be able to buy and own a Chromebook starting at $349.  However, students and educators can subscribe to the Google Chromebook (as a service) for $20 per month and businesses will be able to take advantage of a similar subscription service for $28 per month.

What You Get: Untethered online access to web applications and more including Google’s growing cadre of services including the forthcoming Google Music service.

Tech Specs: 6 to 8 hour battery life, integrated WiFi on all models with 3G connectivity available on select models (up to 100MB free with additional bandwidth available from Verizon Wireless), HD Webcam, 2 USB Ports, and more.  View additional tech specs for the Samsung and Acer models recently announced.

The Google Chromebook is an exciting realization of “living in the cloud” and cloud computing as I talked about in my earlier post.  Be sure to check the Google Chrome website, as well as this blog in the future, for more information about the Google Chromebook!

What’s your reaction to the Google Chromebook – will you be buying one?  Tell us in the comments.