$99 Netbooks In Your Future

From pre-paid calling cards to minute plans with so-called "free phones", sometimes it's painfully obvious that, although we hate to admit it here, it's not always completely about the hardware.  More than a few industry analyst have predicted that the mainstream PC of tomorrow will be nothing more than a thin client connected to the "grid" for services and applications.  Now, Computerworld's Mike Elgan ruminates about what will likely be the new frontier for affordable, mobile computing; the $99 Netbook with a "plan"...

"Subnotebooks like the Asus Eee PC, the Dell Mini 9 and the HP 2133 Mini-Note will soon cost as little as $99. The catch? You'll need to commit to a two-year mobile broadband contract. The low cost will come courtesy of a subsidy identical to the one you already get with your cell phone."

And this release
PR Newswire release for AT&T details that Lenovo, Ericson and AT&T have indeed inked a deal that will bring a similar business model to market very soon...

"Under the agreement, AT&T's 3G service -- the nation's fastest 3G network -- is available on a full range of Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks, which come factory-equipped with Ericsson built-in mobile broadband modules that are enabled for AT&T LaptopConnect. The service provides extensive broadband access both domestically and internationally.

All three of the ThinkPad SL notebooks and all notebooks in Lenovo's T and X series are included in the offering. Customers who purchase the ThinkPad notebooks with the embedded mobile broadband and establish an account with AT&T will receive 30 days of free AT&T DataConnect service.  The notebooks are sold directly through http://www.lenovo.com."

Technologies like Intel's low power, low cost Atom processor and VIA's Nano CPU have certainly brought the cost model down but it appears a mobile broadband service contract might help take things down a notch or two as well.

Tags:  Netbook, Netbooks, Book, TB, Future, books, K