Not so long ago, choices for mobile computing were limited. If you needed access to a computer and a full-fledged desktop rig was impractical, you purchased a laptop. You would likely need to hover near a power outlet the entire time due to poor battery life, but it got the job done.
Today, we have a multitude of choices for on-the-go computing. Smartphones, which are essentially handheld computers, have the ability to perform almost any task thrown at them. Tablet computers, such as the Apple iPad or Kindle Fire, have introduced mobile keyboard-less computing to mainstream audiences. Dell laptops almost seem like a relic of the past in comparison to others, but they're not.
When discussing the iPad2 in 2011, the late Steve Jobs proudly proclaimed the arrival of the Post-PC era. Tablet computers and smartphones have the ability to load apps, which are small computer programs that serve one specific function. This is in sharp contrast to computer programs which run on traditional computers. While a computer program often claims to serve one purpose, it often has a dizzying array of options and settings that make it difficult for computer users to perform tasks. Tablets and smartphones, by comparison, use their simple interfaces to perform tasks quickly and efficiently. Their touchscreen interfaces allow users to interact in an almost intuitive way, something which cannot be said for keyboards.
However, it may be too early to count the laptop out. Manufacturers have been paying close attention to the rise of tablets and smartphones and are planning to launch laptops that incorporate many of their features, such as touchscreen interfaces and nontraditional designs.