Monday, November 03, 2008

Subsidized Netbooks For $99?

Manufactures of subnotebooks like the Asus Eee PC, the Dell Mini 9 and the HP 2133 Mini-Note maybe soon be teaming up with mobile carries to offer subsidized netbooks. To get your $99-199 (likely pricing) netbook you'll need to commit to a two-year mobile broadband contract. Think of it much like the contract of your cell phone, you pay a cheaper price for a phone and sign and extended contract.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that HP is already talking to carriers about such an arrangement but didn't say which carriers. Reports suggest that HP is likely talking to AT&T, which has already confirmed a deal with Lenovo and Ericsson to sell full-size ThinkPads at a $150 discount if customers sign up for a two-year contract on a qualifying $60 AT&T DataConnect.

You can bet that if HP is talking to carriers, so are other companies like Dell and Asus.

Obviously the Lenovo thinkpads are full size notebooks, in fact the deal is for all three of the ThinkPad SL notebooks and all notebooks in Lenovo's T and X series. So none of them are ultra portable. However the deal shows the level of commitment that the companies are willing to make. So you can assume they'd carry the $150 subsidy over. At current pricing you could figure anywhere from $99 to the more likely price of $149-199.

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