A laptop computer, or simply laptop is a small mobile computer, which usually weighs 2-18 pounds (around 1 to 8 kilograms), depending on size, materials, and other factors. Laptops were developed to get in the portability factor with the computers. The initial laptops were more or less of same configurations as a desktop. But the demand for the size reduction made them more 'lap'py.
A Notebook is an extremely lightweight personal computer. Notebook computers typically weigh less than 6 pounds and are small enough to fit easily in a briefcase. Notebooks were designed to get the frequently used functionalities of a computer in a handy size and easy to carry case. The handy notebook size was the one that defined notebook computers. There was not even a replaceable hard disk or other peripherals associated with them initially.
The two have similar origins and use but differ in terms of size and functional capacity.
edit History and evolution
The first commercially available portable computer was the Osborne in 1981. Although it was large and heavy compared to today's laptops, with a tiny CRT monitor, it had a near-revolutionary impact on business, as professionals were able to take their computer and data with them for the first time. This and other "luggables" were inspired by what was probably the first portable computer, the Xerox NoteTaker, again developed at Xerox PARC, in 1976; however, only ten prototypes were built. The Osborne was about the size of a portable sewing machine, and importantly could be carried on a commercial aircraft. However, it was not possible to run the Osborne on batteries: it had to be plugged into mains.
In 1982 Kaypro introduced the Kaypro II, a CP/M-based competitor to the Osborne 1. The Kaypro II featured a display nearly twice as big as the Osborne's and double-sided floppy drives with twice the storage capacity. A more enduring success was the Compaq Portable, the first product from Compaq, introduced in 1983. Another significant machine announced in 1981, although first sold widely in 1983, was the Epson HX-20. However, arguably the first true laptop was the GRiD Compass 1101, designed by Bill Moggridge in 1979-1980, and released in 1982. Another notable computer was the Cambridge Z88, designed by Clive Sinclair, introduced in 1988. the rest has been history with better and smaller models being made.
The Compaq LTE, launched in 1989, was the first to be widely known as a "notebook computer" because its relatively small dimensions—1.9 × 8.5 × 11 inches—were similar to an A4 paper notebook. The Compaq was followed by the very popular IBM ThinkPad, which was the first to include a 10.4 inch screen in a notebook measuring 2.2 × 8.3 × 11.7 inches. Portables with smaller form factors thus became known as Notebooks. The term was also applied to the NEC UltraLite, unveiled in 1988, although its dimensions (1.4 × 8.3 × 11.75 inches) were very similar to the Compaq LTE.
One early notebook was the Gateway Handbook, originally released in 1992 and updated to use a 486 processor in late 1993. This computer was only 9.7 inches (246 mm) wide, 5.9 inches (150 mm) deep, and 1.6 inches (41 mm) high, and weighed less than three pounds. Another early subnotebook was the Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 300, which was launched as "superportable" in 1993. In 1997, Apple launched the relatively light-weight (4.4 lbs) but short-lived PowerBook 2400c. Sony launched an ultraportable less than an inch thick in Japan in 1997, the PCG-505, which reached the US in 1997 as the VAIO 505GX. In 2006, Microsoft stimulated a new round of subnotebook development with the UMPC or Ultra-Mobile PC format code-named Origami. These are basically small versions of Tablet PC computers, which originally shipped with the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. An example is the Samsung Q1.
In 2007 Asus unveiled the Intel-based ASUS Eee PC range running Linux or Microsoft Windows on a 7in color screen. These machines measure just 8.9 × 6.5in and have less-than-full sized keyboards.
The functionalities of the Laptop overcome the functional capacity of notebooks. The notebook's processing power is limited as it just occupies a notebook's space and so the processor power is not to be expected much of. The processor configurations are found to be same nowadays, but still the additional hardware capabilities that laptops provide are absent in the notebooks.
The true sense of notebooks are those in sizes of large PDAs and smaller than laptops. The graphical memory and potential of the laptop is much more than the notebook PCs. Laptops nowadays have complete functionalities of a desktop PC, not actually a subset anymore. Notebooks are the provider of basic functions in a smaller handy size.
Laptops are more flexible with regards to the hardware aspect, any modifications and add-ons can be made. All combinations of DVD drives, processors, etc are available in Laptops these days and these feature the best of the configurations. The best quality Video/Audio cards etc are also there in Laptops now.
Notebooks, on the other hand, are not very flexible with their hardware configurations because of their small size. Functions like DVD drives etc might not be available in some models. But with changing technologies, Notebook’s are also featuring with new additions and latest technology now. They’re best known currently for their small size and not their latest technology.
edit Main manufacturers
Laptops sell more than Notebooks. This is so because Laptops generally have all the features of a normal PC while notebooks don’t because of their very compact frame.