A console, as its been labelled, is (and always has been) a proprietary gaming platform. While this type of gaming device has the advantage of running any available game at top performance, it also puts a restraint on the overall versatility. To put it in more simplistic terms, Xbox will not read, play, or recognize a PS3/PS4 game and vise versa.
Despite the fact that this information may not make the concept of a 'console' any clearer to you at all, its a perspective that led me to understanding it. On the other hand, the definition of "console" lists 3 or 4 different meanings, most of which have no relatable similarities that I can think of...
- A panel or unit accommodating a set of controls for electronic or mechanical equipment.
- A small electronic device for playing computerized video games.
- A cabinet for television or radio equipment.
- A monitor and keyboard in a multiuser computer system.
- An ornamented bracket with scrolls or corbel supporting a cornice, shelf, or tabletop.
- A support between the seats of an automobile that has indentations for holding small items.
However... if you take a closer look at the origin of the word... consolidare in Latin translates to 'together' (con) 'make firm' (solidare). So, if you consider the gaming performance of 'console' systems, you might describe them as "reinforced, strengthened, and more solid" than that of a multipurpose personal computer or smartphone.
The bottom line is... a console system's sole function is gaming. Every aspect of its architecture is designed specifically with that very purpose in mind. Computer systems, contrarily, are focused on a much wider variety of tasks, although there are exceptions such as 'gaming computers' and self built systems. Such customized/specialized PCs aren't your average, typical computer purchased by consumers, though... and even if it were, no computer (that I know of) on the market today is designed solely for gaming.
You're always gonna find those bundled programs... Web Browser, Word Processor, Email application, Calendar, Address Book, Media Player, etc. etc. So while hundreds of this site's members bang out line after line of code in a programming "console" I can only hope the conclusions I've conveyed provided a new perspective.
Now, if you'll excuse me... I'm off to run a Playstation 1 emulator on my PC to play Final Fantasy Tactics. :P (jk)