Introduction to Computer Information Systems/Computers to Fit Every Need

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Embedded Computers[edit]

Thermostat Embedded Computer

An embedded computer is a mini computer with a specific function within a product that completes detailed tasks or jobs for that product. Often times, individuals do not realize how many objects have embedded computers enclosed in them. Some examples of embedded computers used in households include, remote controls, heating pads, digital clocks, washing machines, and microwaves. Others include Bluetooth capabilities in cars, camera traffic lights, and Red Box machines. Surprisingly, a pregnancy test is also considered a simple, yet complicated embedded computer. [1] Embedded computers are developed to do one particular duty, and therefore a regular computer cannot act as an embedded computer.

Mobile Devices[edit]

Smartphone Mobile Device

A mobile device is a handheld tablet or other device that is made for portability, and is therefore both compact and lightweight. New data storage, processing and display technologies have allowed these small devices to do nearly anything that had previously been traditionally done with larger personal computers.[2] These mobile devices are capable of numerous tasks including making phone calls, sending text messages, viewing Web pages, playing games, downloading music, taking digital photos, and watching TV shows and movies. With our ever-growing world of technology, mobile devices are at the tips of our fingers. Questions can be answered, maps can be observed, and weather can be checked. Of the many mobile devices used today, smartphones are the most common form of device. They have Internet capabilities along with the extensive list above. Tablet devices do not have all the capabilities smartphones have, but they are used for Web browsing, gaming, taking digital photos, and playing movies as well as TV shows. Mobile devices are now a big part of people’s everyday lives. Google stated, “The mobile phone might be the world’s most ubiquitous device…” (‎. This shows how technology will keep improving, to become the some of the most widely used devices around.

Personal Computers[edit]

Laptop- Personal Computer

A personal computer is a computer that is mainly for individual use. Before personal computers, computers were designed for companies who would then attach terminals that would allow for more than one user to a single large computer and the resources were shared among all users. The first personal computers came out around the 1970s. The most popular of the time was the Apple II, which came out in 1977 from Apple Computer. In 1981, IBM came out with its first personal computer. IBM PC took over the market and it was what most people bought. Personal computers use single-user systems and are based on microprocessors. [3] Many people do link their personal computers together to create a network. Most personal computers are made up of a central processing unit, control circuitry on an integrated circuit, and various input/output devices. It also contains two types of memory; main memory and auxiliary memory. The sales of personal computers has grown tremendously over the years, according to Michael Dell in 2005 there were 240 millions personal computers sold worldwide. [4] The sale of personal computers will, likely, continue to increase.

Midrange Servers[edit]

School computer lab using a midrange server

Midrange servers are used more for networks, such as in hospitals or a school computer lab. Midrange servers started to become popular in the 1990s. Midrange servers come in between entry-level servers and mainframe computers. They tend to have more memory capacity, processing power, and room for expansion. Another kind of midrange servers are special home servers and they are designed for the home and they link all the content from all the computers onto one network. [5] Something that is happening more frequently with midrange servers is something called virtualizion. It involves splitting had drives and creating two separate hard drives. It can also involve server virtualizion which is splitting the physical server into smaller virtual servers. Virtualization helps companies to use fewer servers and that leads them to reduced costs and less server management. [6]

Mainframe Computers[edit]

Early mainframe computer

Mainframe Computers are much larger computers that consolidate the needs of large organizations like universities, hospitals, banks, government offices, etc. These much more powerful and expensive computers are usually stored in data centers where they connect to all the other computers using a computer network. From this room a single mainframe can serve thousands of users on the same network. Early mainframe computers were first produced in the 1950s due to the increasing processing demands of growing businesses. From then on, these mainframes have increased in power and improved in size.[7] However, with more processing power, this requires more energy consumption, leading computer manufacturers to focus more on energy efficiency in these new computers. Manufacturers also began bundling free software with their mainframe computers as an incentive to help compete against other computer manufacturers. Eventually, a lot of these programs and several new ones were offered as separate products that they could sell rather than just giving them away for free.[8] Today, mainframe manufacturers use advances in technology to further improve the power and efficiency of their computers, one important being virtualization, creating several virtual servers rather than physical ones that take up space.