Technology has brought many advances in forms of mobile computing. Just 10 years ago, laptops commonly weighed over 15lbs. Now, laptops weigh around 5lbs on average. But, laptops are not even considered a mini computer anymore. We now have even lighter, more portable solutions.
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Many consider tablet PCs to be the ultimate portable solution. They can run an entire operating system such as Windows XP or Vista and they save space by not having a physical keyboard and mouse. Instead, tablet PC's use their touchscreen technology for on-screen typing; and touch screen navigation and clicking rather then using a mouse. Tablet PC's are often more expensive then a normal laptop because of their touch-screens.
Netbooks are the newest form of mini computer. They have been recently made popular by incorporation with wireless companies such as Verizon and AT&T. A netbook will run an operating system and all tasks that a laptop computer perform. The only feature that is lacking in most netbooks is no optical drive (DVD-Burner). However, you can connect an external optical drive via the USB ports on your netbook.
Netbooks save space by using 8"-10" screen sizes and smaller keyboards. The majority of netbook manufacturers claim to have keyboards about 80% of the size of a regular keyboard. Netbooks are also very affordable. You can pick up an HP netbook for around $300.
High End MP3 Players
Many current MP3 players offer just about any feature you could ask for. Although they do not offer all of the features as an actual computer, they do have built in web browsing and applications. Because you can easily fit an MP3 player into your pocket or purse, these devices are the ultimate in mini computing.
Cell phones offer many of the same features as MP3 players with the added benefit of calling. Better known as smart phones, high-end cell phones can run mobile versions of operating systems such as Windows Mobile and iPhone 3.0 Mobile. Also, Blackberry has their own operating system that is capable of many PC tasks as well. Currently, Google has even participated, offering Android software to cell phone developers.
Desktop Mini Computers
Desktops have come a long way in the past couple of years. Manufacturers can now encompass all components of a desktop computer into a very minimal space. Some examples of mini desktop computers are the Apple Mac Mini and the HP Studio Hybrid. These computers often take up even less space then a laptop.