Types of Mobile Computer Devices

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Mobile computer devices are designed to be portable, often to fit on your lap, in the palm of your hand or in your pocket. With some mobile devices, you can do many of the things you do with a desktop computer while you are away from home or traveling. Features in mobile computer devices include batteries, video camera, camera, voice recorder and music player. Laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, e-readers and handheld gaming devices are five types of mobile technology used to connect to the Internet and communicate with others.


Laptop Computers

Laptop computers are personal computers that are easy to carry and use in various locations. Many laptops on the market are designed to offer you all the functionality of a desktop computer, which means you can run the same software and open the same types of files.

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The laptop has an all-in-one design with built-in touchpad, keyboard, monitor and speakers. Laptops also offer you the option of connecting to a larger monitor, regular mouse and other peripherals. This feature means you can turn a laptop into a desktop computer, but one you can disconnect from the peripherals and carry with you wherever you go.


Most laptops have the same types of ports desktop computers have -- USB, HDMI and Firewire -- although there are usually fewer of them to save space. However, some laptop ports are different from desktop computers and may require an adapter to use them. For example, the monitor port on a laptop is a Mini DisplayPort, which is smaller than the DisplayPort on a desktop computer.


Ports look similar, so look at your manual to identify the ports on your laptop.


Tablets are also designed to offer portability. However, they provide you with a computing experience different from laptops with the biggest difference being that tablets do not have a touchpad or keyboard. Instead, the touch screen offers a virtual keyboard you use to input text, while your finger replaces the mouse as a pointer.


Tablets are bigger than a smartphone and smaller than a laptop. Like the smartphone, you can browse the Internet, carry out videoconferences, stay connected through email, read e-books, play games, watch movies, share photos and listen to music with the tablet.

Basic features of tablet computers include:

  • Mobile OS: Tablets run on mobile operating systems different from their desktop counterparts. Examples include Windows, iOS and Android.
  • Solid-state drives: Tablets use solid-state drives, which are faster and more durable than hard disk drives.
  • Wi-Fi: Because tablets are optimized for Internet use, they have built-in Wi-Fi.



A smartphone is a powerful mobile phone capable of running applications in addition to providing with phone service. These devices have most of the features available on tablets along with cellular Internet connectivity. Cell phone companies offer data plans that offer you Internet access anywhere with coverage.


E-readers, or e-book readers, resemble tablet computers, but that they are mainly designed for reading digital and downloadable documents. E-readers have either an LCD or e-ink display.


  • LCD Display: This is the same screen found on laptops and tablet computers. This type of screen is suitable for viewing books and magazines with photos because the LCD screen can display colors.
  • E-Ink Display: E-ink is short for electronic ink and usually displays in black and white. It is designed to offer you the look of an actual page in a book. Unlike the LCD display, the e-ink version is not backlit, so text is readable even outdoors in full sun. E-ink displays offer a reading experience with less eyestrain.


Electronic books are also legible on tablet computers, smartphones, laptops and desktops.

Handheld Gaming Devices

Handheld gaming devices are portable, lightweight video game consoles that have built-in game controls, screen and speakers. With a handheld gaming console, you can play your favorite console games wherever you are, whether on the move or while someone else is watching the TV.


Basic features of handheld gaming devices such as Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita include:

  • Online access to free and paid games
  • Access to online movies, TV shows
  • Social media apps
  • Web browsing
  • Online and local multiplayer support