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INFOTECH: The Notebook Revolution


Recent Gauteng Business News

The notebook has come a long way from the bulky, cumbersome machines of yesteryear with very short battery life and not much processing power, to the devices of today which weigh less than ever before and combine more computing into a compact device than desktop computers of years gone by.

By packing more and more power into ever more portable devices and giving us the ability to take our computers with us wherever we go, and more recently the ability to connect to the internet from anywhere at any time, the development of the notebook over the years has revolutionised the way we see computers.

Notebooks are constantly changing, constantly evolving to meet the shifting demands of the market, and even in the last year have changed dramatically as a result of improved technology. New processors such as the Intel Core i range have been developed and are now being incorporated into notebooks, making them more powerful but at the same time using less electricity than previously, prolonging battery life. This, combined with enhanced Lithium Ion battery technology have allowed notebooks to run for ever longer times without being connected to power, enabling people to work longer on the road.

Memory has also become more powerful, with a standardisation of DDR memory in notebooks, a technology that was previously only available on high end notebooks and desktops, and the introduction of Blu-Ray players and writers has enabled notebooks to be used as mobile multi-media viewing platforms.

However one of the most significant changes in notebook technology over the least year has been the fact that integrated 3G modems have become standard, with at least one model in every range coming out with this advancement, and 802.11 Wireless-N becoming more prevalent in more devices. This has enabled notebook users to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or 3G from practically anywhere, so that workers are no longer bound to the desk for any sort of task and can literally set up office wherever they choose, from home to coffee shops, airport lounges or wherever there is wireless connectivity or a 3G signal.

Another major change that has occurred over the last year has been the move from 32bit to 64bit operating systems, which has allowed for the full use of processor speeds and has also enabled notebooks to address more than 3GB of RAM, which again improves performance and allows for more effective multi-tasking capability. This change allows for faster operation because it utilises the system resources better and more efficiently than 32bit. And since the latest generation of processors operates at 64bit, harnessing the power of a 64bit operating system at the same time enables hyper threading, or concurrent processing, to take place. This means that tasks can be processed in less time, which means less waiting on the computer and more productive work.

There has also been a move from standard platter hard drive to Solid State drives, something which is still in its infancy but can fully be expected to accelerate over the next year, due to the benefits of SSD in terms of improved read/write times. All of the technological innovations of the last year have been geared toward improving productivity and the ability to work remotely, a trend which will continue for the near future.

In terms of pricing on notebooks, this follows the same trend year on year, with the high end spec price points decreasing as time goes on and in turn being released in the small business models and that spec then being released in the SOHO models. The pricing is as always aggressive but the trend for 2010 and continuing into 2011 has been towards more for less.

Notebooks have become a commodity rather than a luxury, and sales of these devices has exceeded desktops because they are more affordable than ever and offer greater flexibility in terms of mobile and office working. In 2011 we can once again expect heavy competition in the notebook market and the release of better, faster, lighter, more powerful new products, including the new generation of Intel processors, exciting SOHO products at ever more affordable price points and amazing higher end models.

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