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Generation Laptop

In May 2005 U.S hardware history was made.

This was the first time that laptops sold more than desktop computers in a single month. Indeed, Current Analysis, an innovative research firm headquartered in Sterling, Virginia, confirmed that laptop sales leapt to 53.3 per cent of the total PC retail market in May 2005.

Were these figures just a blip on the the computer sales radar? Let your own eyes answer that question for you - Folks using laptops are everywhere! - People checking their emails in coffee shops, students studying interactively in the classroom, business men and women compiling data reports on planes and trains.

So, what current factors contribute to the massive popularity of laptops with the computer buying public?

AFFORDABILITY

Five years ago, you could walk into a computer store with four thousand dollars, and emerge bow legged, carrying a bulky notebook computer the size of a sewing machine - about as cutting edge as grandpa's pipe and smoking jacket. Today you can pick up a Compaq NX6125 from HP, equipped with a biometric fingerprint reader, 60GB hard drive, and an AMD 64 bit Turion processor for less than $1000!

Expect prices for laptops to get even lower in the coming months thanks to intense competition between the two heavyweight processor manufacturers, Intel and AMD. Both companies have introduced mobile chips with speeds that offer desktop performance.

CONNECTIVITY

Laptops with Wi-Fi are no longer an optional luxury. At Mammoth Coffee in Newport, Ohio, more and more business owners are jostling for notebook "office space", - to the modest tune of a blueberry muffin, and a Cafe Au Lait.

Those who dine at fine restaurants at the very least expect a sensory, savory meal, set upon a table with fine silver and white table cloths; superior service; and ambient lighting. Well that's exactly what's on the menu at Trapeze restaurant in Burlingame, California,- along with wireless access service for laptops.

Wireless fidelity has moved effortlessly from the boundaries of home and office to the pristine elegance of posh restaurants. But, will the wireless laptop revolution end here?

Last Mile Communications have even greater ambitions for Wi-Fi notebooks. They hope to use the established infrastructure of the many lamp-posts dotting around merry old England to produce a network of wireless access points.

This ambitious UK company would like convert the street lights so they can be accessed via your laptop to get on the internet. Last mile would also like to put flash memory in the lights so even without accessing the web you could find information about local amenities, and emergency fire, police and ambulance services.

PORTABILITY

Laptops with performance rivalling that of desktop computers used to be knee breakers - Not any more. A stream of high quality ultralights and ultraportables have flooded onto the market in the last few months.

Acer's Red dot award winner,the Travelmate 3000 boasts a widescreen 12.1 inch panoramic display, and the notebook's compact chassis occupies less desktop space than a sheet of A4 paper - weighing just 1.4kg. The Sony T2, a sleek silver ultralight laptop, is equipped with a 60GB hard drive, 1.2GHz processor and weighs just under 1.4kg.

Too big you say? How about Toshiba's Libretto U100? This laptop weighs just 2.16 pounds, has a 1.20GHz Intel Pentium M processor, and sports a hard drive protection system.

Tom Fox writes for the Laptops Weblog - Laptopical is a site dedicated to offering relevant news commentary and reviews about notebook computers.

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