Everyone knows that “PC” is short for “Personal Computer,” but not everyone can agree on what counts as a PC or doesn’t. It turns out that the term “PC” is packed with more nuance than you might have thought!
The Broad Meaning of PC
Virtually all words have multiple meanings, depending on the context you use them in and what you mean when you use them. Dictionaries record how we use words and how their meanings change over time. In other words, they describe the living meaning of words rather than prescribe what a word “should” mean.
The broadest meaning of “Personal Computer” covers any computer designed for personal use. In general, “computer” in this sense means a general-purpose computer. One that can run any type of application and can be programmed in infinite ways. So although a pocket calculator is certainly a computer in the strictest sense, it’s not the type of computer that “PC” refers to.
Under this broad umbrella, a smartphone certainly counts as a PC. There’s no fundamental difference between it and a typical laptop computer. However, there is…
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