There probably has not been as fitting a time for advances in computer hardware to have such maximum effect as it currently is having for several reasons. For one, many advances in hardware tend to make computers faster, lighter, more powerful and sooner or later, less expensive. This progress is also apparent in the laptop category.
In 2008 more laptops were sold than desktop computers. Not only were the improvements appealing to a wide variety of consumers, but the fact they were portable also had a significant appeal. A lot of updates can be found online, for instance, if you need specific driver updates you can google them and download directly. Not only was a powerful device needed for doing work, but for doing work wherever the work needed to be done was also key. Mobility became crucial.
In the state of a declining economy, many workers were laid off or may have had their hours cut. The concept of working freelance, at all times a practical method of work for many, was being embraced by workers previously employed on a full-time basis. Not being locked down at a single office all day, chained to a desktop, necessitated a different tool. Having a powerful notebook that would fulfill all their requirements, often for a variety of employers and demands, was definitely a much-needed solution to this situation.
Another advantage computer hardware brought along was the prevalence of smart phones. Not only did these new devices allow one to make calls wherever one was, but new and varied applications allowed one to use the device not only as a virtual rolodex and appointment book, but to surf the web for needed information.
While the best solution for all would be for the economy to swiftly ramp up and get the millions who have been pink-slipped back to productive employment.
However it may be said that there was a market who was in the right place at the right time, if unwillingly, that was ready for the new products the computer industry was ready to introduce.