What is a laptop computer? This used to be a straightforward question to answer: a portable personal computer. But, today the way laptops are marketed and bought is rapidly changing.
As Walter Mossberg reports for the Wall Street Journal: “Just when you thought it was safe to shop for a new laptop, a fresh problem stands in the way of laptop buyers: confusion. The shelves are now filled with shiny new PCs and Macs running revamped operating systems, but it’s suddenly more complicated to choose a new laptop, especially for Windows shoppers. There always have been some core differences among the many Windows laptops and Apple’s AAPL +1.74% MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops. Now, with the release of the new Windows 8 operating system, there is an even more fundamental difference. MacBooks remain traditional laptops, controlled by touch pads and keyboards. Apple has kept the Mac separate from its touch-screen computer, the market-dominating iPad tablet. But Windows 8 laptops combine the two approaches, with two different user environments in the same computer. One is the traditional Windows desktop mode, best used with a touch pad or mouse and a keyboard. The other is the Start Screen mode, which operates like a tablet, has tablet-like apps and is best used with a touch screen.”
Click the image for a video with Mossberg’s tips on laptops.