Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
What Is a Computer?
Desktop computers are designed to sit compactly on a desk and run on power from an
electrical wall outlet. The computer in the advertisement shown in the Visual Overview is a
desktop computer. Notebook computers (also referred to as laptop computers ) are small,
lightweight, and designed for portability. They can run on power supplied by an
electrical outlet or on battery power. Tablet PCs are also designed for portability, but they have a
screen on which the user can write with a stylus. The computer recognizes the handwriting
and integrates it into the program being run. Tablet PCs are often used in doctor’s offi ces
and hospitals. Subnotebook computers , sometimes called ultraportable computers or mini
notebooks are notebook computers that are smaller and lighter than ordinary notebooks.
Netbooks , a type of subnotebook computers, are notebooks that are primarily designed to
allow users to access the Internet and check email. Although machines dedicated
primarily to playing games, such as the Xbox and PlayStation, are also computers, they are not
usually referred to as PCs. Slate computers are thin computers that do not have an external
keyboard or a mouse. Users touch the screen or use a stylus to accomplish tasks. Slate
computers are primarily used to read electronic books, view video, and access the Internet.
Both desktop PCs and notebook computers range in price from as low as $300 to as
much as several thousands of dollars for high-end machines. Many computer users spend
between $500 and $1000 when purchasing a new PC.
Handheld computers are small computers designed to fi t in the palm of your hand
and usually have more limited capabilities than PCs. Handheld computers are compact
enough to fi t in your pocket, and they run on batteries. One of the most common types
of handheld computer is a smartphone like the one shown in Figure 2. A smartphone
is used to make and receive phone calls, maintain an address book, electronic
appointment book, calculator, and notepad, send email, connect to the Internet, play music,
take photos or video, and even perform some of the same functions as a PC, such as
word processing. The price of smartphones varies widely. In addition, to use the
capabilities of the smartphone, you need to contract with a cell phone company and pay a
monthly fee for access to their phone network and Internet access.
A notebook computer is
usually more expensive
than a desktop computer
with similar capabilities;
tablet PCs are more
expensive than ordinary
notebook computers.
Figure 2
Smartphone
MP3 players are handheld computers that primarily store and play music, although
some models can also play digital movies or television shows, allow you to listen to FM
radio stations, and access the Internet and email.
Many small and large businesses use PCs extensively. But some businesses,
government agencies, and other institutions also use larger and faster types of computers,
such as mainframes and supercomputers. Mainframe computers are typically used by
larger businesses and government agencies to centrally store, process, and manage large
 
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