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Hardware: Is There a Reason to Upgrade?


As fall begins, computer manufacturers hope their new hybrid tablet PCs are powerful enough to move consumers and business.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL A decade or more after the last big wave of computer buying by consumers and businesses, hardware makers are hoping to convince them that it's finally time to upgrade.

The timing is hardly ideal, given the aura of uncertainty about the US economy, signs of slower growth in Asia, and the near certainty of hard times ahead in Europe.

Worse, many businesses and consumers seem to have taken a vow never to replace a device until the old one literally starts shooting flames. This rule, notably, has not applied to the smartphone or the tablet, especially if it's made by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

In part, that may be because the new ones looked just like the ones they replace. Maybe they were a little faster, sleeker, lighter, or more powerful, but there wasn't much there to brag about.

That's changing, right now and over the next few weeks. Virtually all of Apple's competitors are hoping to create demand for a product that will combine in one device the functions of the tablet, the laptop, and -- in some cases -- the desktop.
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