Menu
Netbooks offered virtually free with mobile contracts

Netbooks offered virtually free with mobile contracts

Netbook prices in the US are tumbling as retail stores are offering the machines virtually for free, but with caveats attached to them.

Retail store Best Buy is selling Hewlett-Packard's Compaq Mini 110c-1040DX netbook, which has a 10-inch screen, for US$0.99, but with a two-year mobile broadband contract from wireless carrier Sprint.

The contract limits subscribers to 5GB of Internet data usage per month, with extra fees if the limit is exceeded. Sprint's 3G mobile broadband plans start at around $60 a month. HP's netbook is available without a contract for $389.99.

Consumer electronics store RadioShack is offering an Acer Aspire One with an 8.9-inch screen for free with a two-year AT&T mobile broadband contract, according to the retailer's website. AT&T's 3G mobile broadband plans start at $60 a month.

RadioShack's offering goes on "while supplies last." The netbook is priced at $349.99 without the contract.

Both netbooks have basic configurations, making them good for word processing and Web surfing, but weak on graphics capabilities.

The HP laptop is powered by Intel Atom N270 processor with 512KB of cache, and comes with a 10.1-inch screen. According to HP's Web site, the netbook also includes 1GB of memory, a 16GB solid-state drive and runs on Windows XP. The laptop has an embedded 3G mobile broadband module for high-speed internet connections.

Acer's netbook includes an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of memory, and a 160GB hard drive. The system runs the Windows XP OS.

Telecom providers started offering netbooks with wireless contracts last year in Europe and Asia, which helped spike the shipment numbers of the low-cost devices. The trend reached the U.S. late last year, when RadioShack announced it would offer an Acer netbook for $99 with a two-year mobile contract from AT&T.

Worldwide netbook shipments totalled around 11 million in 2008, with the number expected to double this year, according to research firm IDC.

Netbook distribution through telecom companies has found a sweet spot in Western Europe, where telecom companies have accounted for 25 percent to a third of the netbook shipments, said David Daoud, research manager at IDC.

Though telecom carriers are emerging as major distribution partners, free netbooks could reduce the already razor-thin margins PC makers generate from the devices, Daoud said. PC makers need to work out kinks with wireless telecom carriers on netbook distribution to generate margins.

Carriers may offer netbooks like they do cell phones: by giving away basic handsets to lure in new customers. Similarly, wireless carriers may offer basic configuration netbooks, like the HP Mini 110c, for free, but charge more on higher-end netbooks with added features like larger screens, Daoud said.

Though there is money to be earned in high-end netbooks, questions remain as to whether a PC maker or telecom company would bear the cost of giving away low-end netbooks, he said.

"In essence, the whole story is a work in progress," says Daoud.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags netbooksinternational news

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments