Mobile Computing Power

In the past several months I have spent a lot of time hanging out in UNC-Charlotte’s Atkins Library, and I have noticed an odd trend among students who take computers with them to the library… a lot of them plug in. When I began college, only a few people brought laptops to class or even to the library, and almost no one brought their power packs. In general, back then, laptops had enough power to run for a few hours without needing to be plugged in. Now software applications are more power hungry and CPUs just sort of let them have at what they want to use. When I was researching what computer I wanted to buy for the purpose of having a mobile computer for taking with me when I go places, the first thing I looked at was battery life. I was less concerned about overall computing power than battery life. It may be hard to do things with an underpowered CPU at times, but it is even more difficult to do things when you have no power for the CPU to use at all. So why is it in this age of everything mobile and social that laptops are built in such a way that they require the power adapter leash? Personally, I am sitting here with 94% and 13 hours of battery life available to me, and even though I plan to be here until about 9:30 this evening, I know that I will have more than enough power. On this laptop I have Windows 7, Office, Visual Studio and a few image applications (everything short of PhotoShop), and the “low power” CPU I have doesn’t seem to struggle at all with them. I suppose having two cores is better than one, no matter what voltage those cores consume.