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Are easy upgrades important in mobile computers?

Some mobile devices are incredibly easy to upgrade. HP couldn’t make upgrading the RAM or even the hard drive in its netbooks much easier — you don’t even need a screwdriver to remove the base plate of many recent models.

HP Mini 210

Others are much more difficult to upgrade. Want more storage space in that iPad? You should have thought of that when you bought the 16GB model and sprung for the pricier 32GB or 64GB versions.

Notebook and netbook makers have typically included easy access panels that let you upgrade RAM in a matter of seconds, and sometimes other components as well. But in an effort to keep mobile computers thin, light, and inexpensive, we’ve seen a growing number of machines that aren’t easy to upgrade.

The MacBook Air, most ultrabooks, and a number of netbooks simply don’t offer an easy way to upgrade components without voiding the warranty.

The upcoming Asus Eee PC 1025CE netbook, for instance, ships with 1GB of RAM but the hardware can technically support 2GB. Unfortunately the memory is soldered to the motherboard and there’s no SODIMM. In other words, you can’t remove, replace, or supplement the RAM.

I suspect that many consumers couldn’t give a hoot — otherwise Apple wouldn’t sell so many products with unibody cases and no removable parts. But I know there are a number of geeks out there that view computer spec sheets as starting points.

So I’m curious — do you consider the ability to upgrade components when making decisions about whether to purchase a mobile device?

Are easy upgrades important in mobile computers?

thanks to cyberusa for the tip on the Eee PC 1025CE

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