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Laptop - Birth Story

The laptop computer, or as it is often called, the notebook computer is the fastest growing segment of the computer market. This wasn't always the case. The story of the laptop is an interesting one to say the least.

The very first portable computer was not produced by one of the giants of the computer industry. In fact, the company that made it went bankrupt in about two years despite some really good initial sales figures. A former book publisher named Adam Osborne started the ball rolling with the Osborne Portable Computer introduced in 1981. Although this computer bore virtually no resemblance to the laptop of today, it was the beginning.

The Osborne Portable Computer sold for $1795 and almost 10,000 units a month were being sold within a year. This success also led to its downfall. The very good reception of the public to the idea of a portable computer led the "big boys" of the industry to take a serious look at the concept. The introduction of much more portable and much more powerful laptops by companies such as Compaq quickly drove Osborne to bankruptcy.

Today, the four companies with the highest global sales of laptop computers are Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer, and Toshiba. Although these are the top four, there is a wide variety of companies producing laptops. Laptops are the fastest growing segment of the computer industry. In 2006, sales increased by 27.7% compared to an 8.9% increase in the entire computer market. Over 78.8 million laptops were sold in 2006 and the totals were expected to be even higher once 2007 figures are released.

The laptop computer does have the ability to perform virtually every function of a desk top computer, but with a slightly less performance to dollar ratio. This is because the priority for the laptop has always been portability over absolute performance while the desk top computer is just the opposite. The rapid increase in sales and the increasing popularity of the laptop proves, however, that the public is willing to pay a bit more for equal performance justifying the belief that portability should be the priority.