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A microcomputer is what we would call a personal computer in today’s world. The reasoning behind their “micro” status was all down to the processor. The microprocessor meant that the computer could be sized down significantly, eventually making it become a common household item.
The microcomputer today comes in the forms of laptops and desktop computers. Due to most machines having microprocessors, it seemed irrelevant to continue calling them “micro”. IBM were the company that bought in the “personal computer” term which quickly caught on.
Browsing the internet, video calling our mothers and playing games are just some of the things we do on our personal computers today, but this type of thing was far from achievable 30 years ago.
Enter the common household item
Now with the rise of these microcomputers it was expected that life would change through database use, like an online library for everything. In effect, this actually has come true, but it’s far more refined to how it was theorised. In the late 70s and early 80s, the realisation dawned as these consumer microcomputers could not perform a simple task and year’s later became powerful enough only to perform one task at a time.
In 1983, computers were frowned upon due to their limited uses. Microcomputer users were soon labelled various things, with words such as “geek” and “hacker” being passed around. This negativity soon became detrimental to the whole world of computers, with many families storing their devices up in the loft.
It then took a further 10 years for a non-technical user to able to use a microcomputer. The graphical interfaces designed provided a more instinctive navigation and made computer basics, far more basic. This revived the computer hype ever so slightly and spurred on the computer infrastructure we have today.
The difference between a Micro & Mini Computer
So if the microcomputer is small in size and has a microprocessor, what is a minicomputer? Minicomputers were designed in the mid-1960s but have, as expected, changed drastically. An example of a modern minicomputer is the Raspberry Pi.
It’s a very small single board computer device that has a lot of potential. Initially created for education purposes, the Raspberry Pi soon became a success within the computer programming niche.
Furthermore, you can add microcontrollers to make all sorts of creations. Buy an arduino uno here and gain the full benefits of a minicomputer. From automatic teapots through to neon cycling jackets, the possibilities are endless. Arduino microcontrollers are designed to perform specific duties.
For instance, while a microprocessor looks at powering photo editing software (where the end result is near infinite), a microcontroller aims to make a device get the outcome it is supposed to have on an input, output basis. A microcontroller will get a digital watch ticking and ticking only because of the low memory (RAM) required.
What’s in store for Microcomputers?
Today’s microcomputer may be described as a tablet such as the iPad, mobile phone or even video game console. The reason being is that these devices now hold more potential and all have ways to browse the internet and download media goods.
People now choose to have a tablet over a computer because in essence they can do almost every casual activity for day to day use. The average person does not need the ability or the know how when it comes to altering a computer’s innards and fiddling around with software. Tablets are on the rise and only time will tell if they’re here to stay.