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The US,150 (US,670 today) GRi D Compass 1101, released in 1982, was used at NASA and by the military, among others.

The Sharp PC-5000, From 1983 onward, several new input techniques were developed and included in laptops, including the touchpad (Gavilan SC, 1983), the pointing stick (IBM Think Pad 700, 1992), and handwriting recognition (Linus Write-Top, 1987).

It was equipped with a central 64K bite Ram, a keyboard with 58 alpha numeric keys and 11 numeric keys ( separate blocks ), a 32-character screen, a floppy disk : capacity = 140 000 characters, of a thermal printer : speed = 28 characters / second, an asynchronous channel, a synchronous channel, a 220V power supply. It had no battery, a 5 in (13 cm) cathode ray tube (CRT) screen, and dual 5.25 in (13.3 cm) single-density floppy drives.

It weighed 12 kg and its dimensions were 45cm x 45cm x 15cm. Both Tandy/Radio Shack and Hewlett Packard (HP) also produced portable computers of varying designs during this period.

One notable example of a subnotebook is the Apple Mac Book Air.

Netbooks first became commercially available around 2008, weighing under 1 kg, with a display size of under 9".

There is some question as to the original etymology and specificity of either term—the term laptop appears to have been coined in the early 1980s to describe a mobile computer which could be used on one's lap, and to distinguish these devices from earlier, much heavier, portable computers (informally called "luggables").

The term "notebook" appears to have gained currency somewhat later as manufacturers started producing even smaller portable devices, further reducing their weight and size and incorporating a display roughly the size of A4 paper; these were marketed as notebooks to distinguish them from bulkier laptops.

Traditional laptops are the most common form of laptops, although Chromebooks, Ultrabooks, convertibles and 2-in-1s (described below) are becoming more common, with similar performance being achieved in their more portable or affordable forms.

A subnotebook or an ultraportable, is a laptop designed and marketed with an emphasis on portability (small size, low weight, and often longer battery life).

A laptop, often called a notebook or "notebook computer", is a small, portable personal computer with a "clamshell" form factor, an alphanumeric keyboard on the lower part of the "clamshell" and a thin LCD or LED computer screen on the upper part, which is opened up to use the computer.

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