updated 03:35 pm EDT, Thu October 30, 2008
HP Netbook 3G Deals
HP is strongly considering linking netbooks like the Mini 1000 to cellular data plans, the company's consumer notebook head Kevin Frost tells the Wall Street Journal. Similar to deals in Asia and Europe, HP would offer a heavily discounted mini-computer in return for signing a contract for data access through a carrier and thus give users both a less expensive netbook as well as 3G or greater access.
No deals are imminent, though Frost mentions AT&T and Verizon as potential partners and so opens the door to both HSDPA and EVDO access as options. The intention to add wide-area wireless is part of the "big picture" rather than a concrete plan for the near future, the HP official claims.
Such a gesture would be made possible by the combination of the relatively low prices of netbooks and the increased speed of most 3G service today. Netbooks like the Mini 1000 or newer ASUS and MSI models are priced closer to smartphones and so can have most of their price subsidized by providers, while the connections themselves frequently pass 1Mbps in peak real-world conditions and so are useful for full web browsing and media streaming.