There are seven categories of computers. The first one that I will discuss is the personal/ desktop computer. This type of computer fits on a desk and can range in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. These computers can vary from special purpose to general purpose depending on the demands of the person purchasing it. These computers have developed over time and performed similar tasks as the computers we use today. However the technology 10 years ago was less sophisticated and therefore the memory and storage capacity of these computers greatly affected their performance.
The next type of computer we will discuss is mobile computers and devices. In this category the item typically fits in your hand or lap and can cost between one hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. This category has developed substantially over the past decade, and depending on the needs of the consumer it may be general purpose such as a cell phone or they can be used as special purpose in circumstances such as the devices electricians use. These devices have shrunk in size, which have allowed them to become mobile and not stationary devices.
The next category is gaming consoles; these are either small boxes or hand held devices and cost several hundred dollars or less. These devices began as such consoles as Atari and before that the classic pinball machine. These devices commonly play disks or cds that you insert in the machine and therefore the usage can be considered general.
Servers are considered to be the size of a small cabinet and can cost upwards of a million dollars. This form of computer is very specific in what it does, and is extremely complex due to the thousands of simultaneous connections. Once again as technology has advanced the size of these devices have shrunk substantially.
Mainframes can be up to the size of a full room and are used for a very specific purpose. These can cost several million dollars, and once again these machines have advanced substantially to allow more computing power at faster speeds as well shrinking the size of the unit. The technological advances which have been made have allowed these units to be responsible for approximately 83% of the transactions in the world.
Supercomputers are the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive computer in existence. These units can store more than 20,000 times more data than that of a personal computer, and are used for mathematical calculations and simulations in aerospace, nuclear energy and weather forecasting.
Embedded computers are miniature and are considered special purpose. The functions of these units are a component of larger products such as a car. The prices of these systems are embedded in the price of the larger unit. These units have developed rapidly in the last decade especially in the automotive industry offering tools such as GPS, and active cruise control.
Before the time of these machines people were forced to keep records and control data manually, whether it is a nurse writing hand notes for a doctor, or a person having a map in their personal cars. As technology advances to meet the changing needs of consumers the technology becomes more advanced and smaller, offering more for less. Due to the high demand in technology and the ever changing demand in products computers have forever changed the consumer, and in effect will constantly change and be developed in order to meet the demands of tomorrow.