A laptop is a portable personal computer with a clamshell form factor, suitable for mobile use. They are also sometimes called notebook computers or notebooks. Laptops are commonly used in a variety of settings, including work, education, and personal multimedia.
A laptop combines the components and inputs as a desktop computer; including display, speakers, keyboard, and pointing device (such as a touchpad), into a single device. Most modern-day laptop computers also have a webcam and a mic (microphone) pre-installed.
A laptop can be powered either from a rechargeable battery, or by mains electricity via an AC adapter. Laptops are a diverse category of devices, and other more specific terms, such as ultrabooks or netbooks, refer to specialist types of laptop which have been optimised for certain uses. Hardware specifications change vastly between these classifications, forgoing greater and greater degrees of processing power to reduce heat emissions.
Portable computers, originally monochrome CRT-based and developed into the modern laptops, were originally considered to be a small niche market, mostly for specialized field applications such as the military, accountants and sales representatives. As portable computers became smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more powerful and as screens became smaller and of better quality, laptops became very widely used for a variety of purposes.