Computer System Types: Mobile, Stationary & Multi-User

Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

There are computers you can hold in your hand, computers that fill up a room, and variations in between. In this lesson, we'll discuss various types such mobile, stationary and multi-user computers and examine the use and characteristics of each.

Computing Power on The Go

Today we are surrounded by so-called 'smart' devices - smartwatches, smartphones, even smart TVs. These intelligent devices do act as computers, meaning that they accept input, have a processor and a program for interpreting and performing our instructions, and they store information. For the purposes of this lesson, we're going to focus on devices being used for business purposes.

Can you use a small smart device such as a smartwatch for business purposes? Sure. You can check your next appointment with the calendar function on your smart watch, which may be linked to your office calendar and email programs. But, that's a personal convenience and chances are your company isn't going to issue you a smartwatch as part of the electronic gear they provide. They may, however, issue you a smartphone, so we'll start with that as the smallest mobile computer system we'll consider for this lesson. A smartphone will you let your browse the web, run applications like Microsoft Office, and can act as a lifeline to your office via Wi-Fi or cell connectivity.

Smartphones allow you to stay productive even on the go
Smart phone

Next up in the mobile computing size scale is a tablet, which is similar to a smartphone but adds a faster, more powerful processor, larger screen, and more data storage. Smartphones and tablets with detachable keyboards are fast becoming the computing device of choice as sales of PCs (laptops and desktops) have been declining for several years. Laptop computers offer more data storage and greater connectivity (the ability to connect external devices) than tablets but are larger and heavier. But, many companies still issue laptops to their employees as their only computer.

Computing Power in The Office

We'll begin discussing stationary computing power with the desktop PC (formerly known as a microcomputer) This used to be the king of the office computing environment but it is in rapid decline. Why? Desktop PCs used to offer advantages over laptops such as greater storage and greater external connectivity (more ports to connect devices). But, with the advent of cloud-based storage (moving your data to a device on your network or somewhere else on the Internet), PCs no longer have to have large hard drives for storage. You can also connect a large flat panel screen to your laptop or tablet when you're in the office. As we become more mobile in our work and have access to high-speed connectivity almost anywhere, the desktop PC is becoming less in demand.

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