One of the main elements of technological advance is that over time, any platform will be made smaller. As we had the telephone, now we have the mobile or cell phone. As we had the gramophone, so we invented the record player and eventually the compact disc. And inevitably, while computers started out being so large as to fill entire rooms, so they became smaller.
Eventually, this led to the invention of the laptop computer – which happened in a very basic form as long ago as 1968. That form of the technology was notably different from the laptops we recognize today in many ways, but it set the wheels in motion for what we use in this day and age. What we see today is a refinement of the first laptop computer.
The real story with laptop computers in the last decade or so is in how they have become more prevalent and more powerful. As recently as the last decade, a laptop computer would not have been a purchase that any but the affluent could have considered. Now, they are so prevalent as to be in most homes in the Western world.
Due to their smaller size, laptop computers can be taken anywhere so long as you have enough battery life. This smaller size does mean a trade-off in terms of memory, and the most powerful laptop is still markedly less powerful than a high-end desktop PC – but as the technology improves, the gap keeps narrowing and laptops are now used for more than just the basics.