The recession seemed far away at Comdex, the computer industry's annual love-fest and product show. The secret was focusing on the future, and the products that got everyone's attention were laptop computers. Clonemakers AST Research and Dell Computer grabbed a big share of the limelight with their new color laptops. The reason: unexpectedly low prices. Dell says it will sell its speedy, 7-pound color notebook for under $5,000, starting next year, about $ 2,000 less than expected. Pentops, laptop computers that can read handwriting, drew crowds, too, but there was less immediacy. IBM, for example, showed a prototype pentop, but wouldn't discuss its price or its availability.

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