Google has been pushing its cloud-centric Chromebooks as the lightweight, long-lasting replacement for Windows laptops. But Microsoft spearheaded low-powered mini-notebooks way before they were cool. In the late 1990s, Microsoft and its OEM partners released 7 to 9-inch clamshell devices they called Handheld PCs. HPCs such as HP's Jornada line ran Windows CE, a scaled back version of Windows installed in ROM, while all local data was stored in solid state memory.
Like today's tablets, HPCs woke up instantly and lasted many hours on a charge. Most didn’t have Wi-Fi built-in, but you could add it via a card. Sadly, consumers couldn’t grasp the value of HPC and they faded away. If more people bought great systems like the HP Jornada 820 or IBM ThinkPad Z50, the era of always-on computing would have started years ago.