While advances in computer hardware seem to appear everyday, it is infrequent that any such advancements truly mean anything to the mobile real estate agent. For the most part, real estate technology applications don’t require much processing power. This means that most real estate agents won’t see any noticeable difference in the use of a brand-new, cutting-edge laptop and one that is a year or 2 old.
Although I did say that it is infrequent that a significant technology advancement is introduced, we are on the verge of 2 such advancements. In fact, these 2 changes in laptop technology are so revolutionary that they are bound to influence the purchases of the mobile real estate agent for years to come.
Solid State Drives (SSD)
Any computer technician will tell you that laptop hard drives are prone to failure, much more so than desktop hard drives. This can be attributed to the bumps and bruises experienced from being a mobile device. No matter how careful you are with your laptop, your hard drive has most likely been knocked around a bit.
Hard drives are also one of the biggest drains on laptop batteries. The process of spinning the hard drive platters sucks a large amount of power.
Solid state drives solve both of these problems. By using flash memory (like thumbdrives, digitial cameras and small MP3 players), solid state drives are able to perform the same tasks as a traditional hard drive, but with no moving parts. No spinning platters means that energy consumption is reduced greatly and the durability of the drives is improved.
Toshiba is about to release the world’s very first laptop with a solid state drive. The Portege R500-S5003 will include a 64GB solid state drive. Upon its release, The Portege R500, with its solid state drive, 7mm thick DVD-RW drive and LED screen, will be the most advanced ultraportable to date.
A discussion on laptop battery life is not complete without talking about the power usage of the display. There is a reason that energy comsumption profiles on laptops dim the display when running off of battery. The display is one of the largest users of battery power of any laptop component.
The newly introduced use of LED lights in laptop displays instead of the traditional cold cathode fluorescent light is drastically changing the way we look at laptop screens. LED produces a brighter, whiter light than fluorescent while consuming far less power. LED lights are also smaller, making screens using them about half as thick as other screens.
LED screens are partly responsible for the recent promotion of ultra-thin laptops. My favorite of these new breed of computer is Dell’s XPS M1330. This 13.1”, media-intensive laptop could be the best blend of business mobility and personal life functionality all housed in a machine that stands barely over 1 inch tall.
Keep these 2 new technologies in mind when you purchase your next laptop computer. The LED screens are becoming quite prevalent, by the end of the year all laptop manufacturers should have an LED option or model.
The solid state drives may take a bit longer to become mainstream. You will start to see them in high-end, ultraportable machines. A hybrid drive (a traditional hard drive with flash memory onboard) may become more popular with manufacturers until the cost of solid state drives comes down and their capacity goes up.