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Why Netbooks Will Soon Cost $99 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the act-now-while-supplies-last dept.
CWmike sends along a ComputerWorld piece which predicts that "netbooks 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. It's likely that HP is working with AT&T (they're reported to be talking), which announced a major strategic shift a couple of weeks ago that should result in AT&T stores selling nonphone gadgets that can take advantage of mobile broadband, including netbooks. What's more interesting is that low income and cheapskate buyers are starting to use iPhones as replacements or substitutes for netbook, notebook and even desktop PCs. The author's take: A very large number of people are increasingly looking to buy a single device — or, at least, subscribe to a single wireless account — for all their computing and communications needs, and at the lowest possible price."
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Why Netbooks Will Soon Cost $99

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  • by Laebshade (643478) <laebshade@gmail.com> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:20AM (#25594007)

    I'd hardly call using an iPhone as a replacement or substitute for a net/note/lap/dog-book or desktop being a "cheapskate buyer".

    • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:29AM (#25594035)

      Actually calling them incompetent buyer would be more accurate, but the parent article is still quite right.
      Most people are impulse buyer and will pay anything if the "first byte" is not too painful.
      You will see things like:
      59$ down payment 19.9 for the three first month (and in small 29.9 for the super premium student value subscription or 59.9 for the standard and 99.9 for the business (the only one that is actually of any use to you) subscription...

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:15AM (#25594235) Journal
        Ummm...considering that Asus has done announced they will have a EEE priced at $200 [cnet.com] next year,why on earth would anyone get screwed with such a long term contract to save $100? Personally I'll wait and see what the $200 Asus looks like.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Ummm...considering that Asus has done announced they will have a EEE priced at $200 [cnet.com] next year,why on earth would anyone get screwed with such a long term contract to save $100? Personally I'll wait and see what the $200 Asus looks like.

          At $200 retail it becomes free with contract - which will no doubt be a selling point.

          If it is a decent device (for me, that's a 10" screen, plenty of memory, 16GB SSD or fast HDD, bluetooth) and data service is reasonably priced I'd get one as a laptop replacement.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rtb61 (674572)

            A netbook is only really a laptop replacement, when the laptop is in the portable range and not spending most of it's life on a desk ala the 17" screen desknotes. What is happening is smart phones are being bound back to more portable size, the PDA sized phone and even the PDA itself are going to lose ground to the netbook. So compact smartphone, netbook and, desknote/desktop become the standard connected persons digital line up.

            Likely the netbook will end up the most populus device in the western market

        • by AigariusDebian (721386) <aigarius@noSPam.debian.org> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:36AM (#25594667) Homepage

          Talk about outdated thinking, LMT in Latvia is offering ASUS EEEPC 1000 with a built-in 3G reciever for $2 + 2 year data contract. That offer is there for at least half a year, could be close to a full year now.

        • by billcopc (196330)

          Why would they get screwed ? Because that's what they've been doing forever. People also have a very distorted perception of the value of electronics. They sincerely believe they're getting a $400 phone or gadget for $200, when in reality the phone company is simply eating their profit margin on the sale.

          If Asus can sell you an EEE for $299 today, that means it cost $120 to make. If they make a $199 model, building it cost less than $80. That's just the nature of the global distribution model, where mo

      • by couchslug (175151)

        This is great news for the people who will grab these netbooks after the original buyers tire of them or quit their contracts. I'll be watching Craigslist and flea markets.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ciaohound (118419)

      Because the iPhone is expensive? For a cell phone, sure it is. But most cell phones aren't handheld computers (yet).

      With telecom in many developing countries, buyers skipped having a land line and went right for cell phones. Buyers in developed economies often realize they don't need a land line. I'm not one of them, but, in today's economy, if someone buys a cell phone and it's also a usable web browser, why pony up for a desktop, laptop, or even a netbook?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rogerborg (306625)
        This is Slashdot. We only consider Asia in the context of giant robots. The idea that several billion people have bypassed the concept of the personal computer altogether and gone for the shared terminal + personal high end cellphone solution scares us. How do those craaaaazy foreigners even tar zip their lunix squid over ssh?
    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:06AM (#25594191) Journal

      From the OP: ... that low income and cheapskate buyers are starting to use iPhones as replacements or substitutes for netbook, ....

      An iPhone costs more than some existing netbooks, so these must be affluent imbeciles or ardent fashionistas (both groups being significant subsets of the iPhone demographic), rather than "cheapskates" or "low income". Of course, these are exactly the right target market for selling a netbook with a locked-in WLAN communication contract, preferably at an eye-watering overall profit level.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:20AM (#25594009) Homepage
    It would be better just to buy it outright. With free wireless broadband being so easy to get, and the cost of these netbooks dropping, you are probably just better off buying it outright, and not being tied into a provider.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:36AM (#25594065)

      With free wireless broadband being so easy to get...

      Wha...? You do realize that "wireless broadband" isn't the same thing as wi-fi, right?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jawtheshark (198669) *

      I wonder why they say "soon". In my country they already do this, at at least two mobile phone operators. It seems like a rather logical step to me.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Zarf (5735)

        Well, when I was living in the EU I thought you guys seemed to be a bit ahead of the US in some ways and behind in others when it came to telecom. It was hard to get what a USican would call good high speed wired service (no cable modems for example and I currently have FTTH/FiOS I couldn't get that in EU).

        I think EU wireless services were more pervasive, better, and made a heck-of-a-lot more sense from a customer perspective.

        So, yeah, mobile phone services in the US are pretty sad by comparison...

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by TBoon (1381891)
          Might I ask *which* EU-country you were living in, and when? EU is a big place, with significant differences when it comes to things like this...
    • It would be better just to buy it outright. With free wireless broadband being so easy to get, and the cost of these netbooks dropping, you are probably just better off buying it outright, and not being tied into a provider.

      "Free" and "easy to get" is relative - try traveling around the US on a frequent basis and it becomes neither free nor easy to get.

      If ATT could come up with a cheap way to get email and do light surfing / downloading then it becomes a worthwhile gadget for traveling; especially if the device is good enough to do Word and PowerPoint on the road.

      • "Free" and "easy to get" is relative - try traveling around the US on a frequent basis and it becomes neither free nor easy to get.

        Lets see... last time I checked there were about 5 unsecured wireless routers in range, and there were a lot more last time I went into a major city.... Its both free and easy to get.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          "Free" and "easy to get" is relative - try traveling around the US on a frequent basis and it becomes neither free nor easy to get.

          Lets see... last time I checked there were about 5 unsecured wireless routers in range, and there were a lot more last time I went into a major city.... Its both free and easy to get.

          Yes, and you have no idea whose router that is or what they are doing with your data stream; nor how long they will be up. Besides the security issue, if you are moving or inside a building may unsecured routers go away.

          Not to mention "major city" leaves out a lot of the US.

          Finally, leaching bandwidth is not free.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          Not all of use live in or around a "major city". My travel typically consists of the following:

          Charleston, SC
          Columbia, SC
          Atlanta, GA

          Occasionally I'll venture into Charlotte or Miami but not often.

          My experience there is that unless you're in a hotel (where you're usually going to have to pay extra for it - unless it's a cheap hotel. seems the higher the price the more likely you are to have to pay for wifi), or in a coffee shop, then you're not getting a signal. Even then most of the hotels seem to have a

    • by nametaken (610866)

      Yeah, we've seen this scam before. They used to do it at BestBuy, etc.

      Hello grandmothers out there! Get this awful Acer desktop for just $100!

      All you have to do is sign up for 18 years of AOL at $25/mo... and a $500 early cancellation fee.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:22AM (#25594013)

    In the UK (which is generally, but not always prefixed with the words "rip off") netbooks/cheap laptops have been available for free as part of contract mobile deals for quite a few months now via major retailers such as the Carphone Warehouse..

    • by xaxa (988988)

      They've been available as part of ADSL deals too, although currently only with AOL [aolbroadband.co.uk]

      http://www.top10-broadband.co.uk/types/broadband_free_laptop/ [top10-broadband.co.uk]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vagabond_gr (762469)

      In the netherlands you can get an Eee PC 901 for 49.95 euros plus 34.95 euros per month for 2 years. Or even for free with a 59.95 euros/month contract. translation of t-mobile page [google.com]

    • by Catil (1063380) *
      Here in Germany you can get mobile contracts bundled with virtually anything you like. LCD-TVs, next-gen consoles, PC gaming rigs, laptops, motor-scooters and perhaps even cars... Off course, those contracts are more expensive than regular ones.
      It's just a special form of leasing and in the end it will always cost you more than buying the bundled stuff separately.
  • In the UK, PC World, Carphone Warehouse etc. have all competing on mobile broadband deals for months, throwing in a netbook or laptop at the same time. Just like with mobile phones you're paying a high price for finance on a £150-400 device, plus a 12-24 months broadband / 3G contract.

    Separately the phone networks are also competing much harder in the last year for broadband-only deals, and SIM-only deals for calls - those seem like better value if you know what you want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wild_quinine (998562)
      1. Predict Something that has already happened.

      2. ??????WTF?????

      3. Look like an idiot.

  • by Evan Meakyl (762695) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:29AM (#25594033)
    ... at least in France:

    http://www.sfr.fr/mobile/internet-ultra-portable.jspe?sfrintid=HP_NA_MEA_2 [www.sfr.fr]

    You can have an EEEPC for 99 euros + a USB key which allows to connect to the Internet using a 3G+ connection, which for a 2 years subscription costs you 30 euros/per month. Do the maths :) !
  • by suburbanmediocrity (810207) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:30AM (#25594037)
    I believe predicted this many years ago.

    Of course I think that he also predicted that we would eventually also be marrying them at some point. Now I think we're just living together.

  • Now instead of speaking to "real users" when we build something for netbooks, we need to convince a couple of "telecom marketoids"...

    Watch this space for "ringtones windows skins from outerspace for netbooks" at a low 9.99.

    And then when you'll go to you favority watering hole you'll find out who the nerds are because their computers do not go "" when they get a new mail.

  • Step One: Integrate Card in a Specialized "Mobile Laptop"
    Step Two: Offer Laptop for Free w/ Two Year Service Plan
    Step Three: People might begin to choose a wireless broadband service over their home network.

    Extra Step: Keep charging for "extra cards" if they want their home-based setups to use the service.

  • by geophile (16995) <jao@@@geophile...com> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:38AM (#25594075) Homepage

    BInding a single device to a 2-year contract is nuts. Especially a device as limited as a cell phone or netbook.

    The iphone, for example, is very cool, but I'm just not interested at $70/month. Yet I pay more than that for my tv/phone/internet connection at home. I'm OK with that because at home I have flexibility -- I can attach as many phones and computers as I want.

    I'm sticking with my pay-as-you-go, featureless cell phone until there's an expensive contract that gives me a lot more flexibility.

    • Luddite!
    • BInding a single device to a 2-year contract is nuts. Especially a device as limited as a cell phone or netbook.

      The iphone, for example, is very cool, but I'm just not interested at $70/month. Yet I pay more than that for my tv/phone/internet connection at home. I'm OK with that because at home I have flexibility -- I can attach as many phones and computers as I want.

      I'm sticking with my pay-as-you-go, featureless cell phone until there's an expensive contract that gives me a lot more flexibility.

      Value depends on needs - my home phone is rarely used (and primarily a legacy line) Cell phones are the primary devices we use for personal and work calls; and pay as you go would be orders of magnitude more expensive and the monthly cost is very variable and unpredictable. Most don't offer data plans (well, ATT does but it's a bit convoluted to get it).

      So, a contract is a good way to lock in a price and that's less expensive and more predictable. It's essentially a 2 year hedge on costs.

      It all depends on

  • Ahh convergence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LaughingCoder (914424) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:40AM (#25594081)
    I am always fascinated by the twists and turns of the "convergence" of all electronic devices into "the one device that rules them all". For awhile it was looking like the video game console might be the winner. And TIVO was hot for awhile, as were set-top boxes. The PC made a run, but collapsed under their own complexity - the difficulty of trying to be all things. Those all of course both suffered from a lack of portability (notebooks were an attempt to address this) ... enter the PSP. Then smartphones popped on the scene and are probably the current best bet. But now netbooks appear, and there are some compelling reasons why they could displace cell phones as the one device everyone owns and carries. I suppose their two big problems are battery life and size. The smartphones' problems are screen size and interface (keyboard) size. Perhaps when (if) voice recognition finally works and the display-in-glasses becomes viable cell phones could overcome their limitations?

    As a self-professed gadget guy I can say that I carry 3 devices with me always: cell phone, pocket PC and thumbdrive. Sometimes I also carry a Nano if I will be listening to music for a prolonged period (battery issues with the Pocket PC and the cell phone). Here in the states, the smartphones with touchscreens and web browsers and available 3rd party applications require you to sign up for a data contract, the cost of which I cannot justify. The pocket PC has a decent camera, a good music player, a host of games and applications, WiFi, a good size screen ... but it lacks a decent input device, battery life and cell phone functionality.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      cell phone, pocket PC and thumbdrive. Sometimes I also carry a Nano

      I carry an iPhone, with a few jailbroken apps, and Air Sharing (as a thumbdrive replacement), which seems to cover all the bases. Haven't found the screen size to be a limitation, save perhaps for reading books. The only area that it's really lacking in is the camera, which is pretty rubbish, but I think I'll always prefer a real camera for that.

      My bet would be on phones (not necessarily the iPhone) as the next convergence device - when we have slightly more power, and ubiquitous wireless keyboards/screens

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mollymoo (202721)

      But now netbooks appear, and there are some compelling reasons why they could displace cell phones as the one device everyone owns and carries. I suppose their two big problems are battery life and size.

      A lot of people are saying that netbooks with become the portable convergence device of the future. I can only assume they have never actually seen a netbook in the flesh. They are small compared to a laptop, but they are huge compared to a PDA or cellphone. You wouldn't want to lug one around all day just t

  • I'm all about having a real web browser, email, maps, and such on the road with you. It's what made me get an iPhone after so many years of watching Windows Mobile devices do everything so crappy.

    The only thing missing with the iPhone is a nice external keyboard to use when occasions arise on-the-go, where I might be at a table and have the ease of use of a keyboard for rapid typing.

    Perhaps Netbooks will fill in this niche. Hell, throw in a few remote access clients and it could be a sysadmin's drea
  • by Zedrick (764028)
    How is this news? You get a... (checking local carriers) HP 550 or Toshiba S300 at *no* extra cost when you sign up for a normal 24 month mobile broadband subscription here (Sweden), and this has been common for years.

    Or is this some US-specific backwardness, like paying for recieving calls? (no offense intended, but the US market really does seem to be 10 years behind the rest of the developed world, at least judging from slashdot-articles :-))
    • by amorsen (7485)

      Paying for receiving calls is forwardness, not backwardness. As it is in Europe, providers can extort pretty much any rate they want on incoming calls, and the market doesn't punish them -- because it's the customers of other providers who pay. In Denmark it is typical that the inter-carrier rate is around 0.15EUR per minute, whereas in the US it's less than $0.01 per minute plus perhaps $0.10 for the customer on a really expensive plan. It also makes number portability between mobile and fixed networks pos

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jawtheshark (198669) *

        As it is in Europe, providers can extort pretty much any rate they want on incoming calls, and the market doesn't punish them -- because

        *blink*

        My wife and I used to be on different carriers. If she called me from cell to cell, yes, she had to pay more for that call (which is outgoing for her). Incoming, I paid exactly nothing at all. Inter-carrier rates for incoming calls are non-existent where I live and I know they don't exist in Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands. Maybe Danmark is special i

        • by amorsen (7485)

          Inter-carrier rates for incoming calls are non-existent where I live and I know they don't exist in Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands. Maybe Danmark is special in this case?

          Nope. You're just uninformed. The carrier loses money when you call a different carrier. (Unless you're on a really crappy plan.)

    • Or is this some US-specific backwardness, like paying for recieving calls? (no offense intended, but the US market really does seem to be 10 years behind the rest of the developed world, at least judging from slashdot-articles :-))

      The problem with /. 's discussions of cell phone markets is they fail to look at the market in an objective fashion. The conclusion is often "X is bad / behind the times / worse than mine because it is different.

      Yes we "pay" for receiving calls; but given we don't if they are from the same carrier (I would wager a lot of calls are within a household who probably has only 1 carrier) of occur in the evening or on weekends most people never see any impact on their bill. If you do a lot of peak calling you ca

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tompaulco (629533)
        Being from the U.S. myself I don't see any reason to defend charging for incoming calls. My landline doesn't get charge for incoming calls. Neither should my cell phone. I don't mind if they charge enough for outgoing to make up the cost (I would guess they already do this anyway). The worst offender of all is having to pay for incoming texts. I have never sent a text in my life, and I only receive a few a month, and those that I receive are generally accidents, or are from someone at work who doesn't reali
        • Being from the U.S. myself I don't see any reason to defend charging for incoming calls. My landline doesn't get charge for incoming calls. Neither should my cell phone. I don't mind if they charge enough for outgoing to make up the cost (I would guess they already do this anyway).

          Unless you have a very limited plan incoming calls have little to no effect on your charges - unless for some reason you receive a lot of prime time calls from people not with your provider.

          As for the cost, the marginal cost for the call is essentially zero ; so other than truncation fees (if they still exist) it really doesn't cost anything for the provider to connect you.

          The worst offender of all is having to pay for incoming texts. I have never sent a text in my life, and I only receive a few a month, and those that I receive are generally accidents, or are from someone at work who doesn't realize that dialing my number and calling is cheaper, easier and less time-intensive than dialing my number and typing in a text message.

          Block all text. Issue fixed.

          Unlike you I am not hopeful for the election to change anything. I have not heard anything from either candidate about this issue, nor would I want the government to get involved. I simply want consumers to stop laying down and taking it, which is probably a shallow hope since they are so addicted to text messaging.

          You missed the tag

  • If I could buy an iPhone and get a data plan and only a data plan with Rogers (I'm Canadian), I would. Their phone plans SUCK so I refuse to get an iPhone and am sticking with Koodo instead but, if Rogers ever pulls their heads out of their @ss or starts offering data-only plans for iPhone owners, I'll snatch one up in a second. Of course, one would surely ask why I'd want an i_Phone_ if I don't want to use the phone part but, first, the ability to have the internet in your pocket is VERY appealing and the
  • In the UK you can get a free full-sized laptop with a 12 or 18 month contract for broadband Internet.

  • Frankly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:57AM (#25594159)

    I don't understand why I can't simply "dock" my 300MHz 64Mb RAM, 2Gb storage mobile phone into a cradle and use a normal keyboard, mouse and screen to edit documents, write emails, browse web etc.

    Psion had fully featured word processors, spreadsheets and cardfile databases running on 16bit hardware a decade ago, the problem isn't the OS or hardware... All the current crop of smartphones are up to the job.
     

    • Re:Frankly (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tryfen (216209) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:30AM (#25594319) Homepage

      You can.

      Nokia's N95 8GB comes with a TV-out cable in the box. Hook it up to a 42 inch plasma screen, pair a bluetooth keyboard with the phone and you're all set.

      You can even play Quake on it.

      Use the built in Webkit browser or install Opera.

      It has full desktop-style office apps available. Out of the box it can read .doc and .ppt and a few others.

      It has a media streamer (realplayer) so you can watch TV, listen to Internet radio, podcasts etc.

      There's a mobile version of DivX which will play your "backups".

      Want to go insane with yourbandwidth? Try the Bit Torrent client that's available - SymTorrent. Mind you, you're better off using the built in WiFi for that.

      Better keep a charger nearby!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LaughingCoder (914424)
      I agree with one enhancement ... it should connect wirelessly to those devices. I would love to sit down at my desk with my smartphone in my pocket (with gobs of storage inside it) and have it automatically associate (over bluetooth?) with the screen, keyboard, wired or wifi interface, speakers, etc. Basically every workstation/PC would simply be IO devices ... the computation power and data would travel with me in my pocket. I guess for the time being it could physically dock, but that's so 90s -- wireless
  • If only (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurtis25 (909650) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:03AM (#25594183)
    If mobile broadband were fast enough to watch TV online, if the bandwidth caps were high enough to connect to my firm's remote server 8 hours a day and watch 5 hours of TV shows online a week and it was less than the $30 a month I pay for internet now I would sign up in a heartbeat.
    • by amorsen (7485)

      If mobile broadband were fast enough to watch TV online,

      It is.

      if the bandwidth caps were high enough to connect to my firm's remote server 8 hours a day

      They are.

      and watch 5 hours of TV shows online a week

      That can be iffy, can you stay within 10GB?

      and it was less than the $30 a month I pay for internet now

      It's more than $30. Mobile broadband isn't going to win over very much of the fixed broadband market in the near term. There are lots of downsides to it, including cost and (often) latency. Still, it's wonderful to have in addition to fixed broadband.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:08AM (#25594201)

    Several networks are already offering this kind of deal here in Taiwan. Some of them even giving them away for free if you take the unlimited 3G network plan combined with a 2 year contract. The unlimited 3G plan costs about 22USD at the current exchange rate which is pretty decent since you get a netbook worth close to 400 bucks retail price (they give away Asus EEE PC 901 and 1000H and such and not the cheap surf model)

    Personally I think that it is a good deal.

  • Predictions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:14AM (#25594231)

    1) MS-Windows only
    2) Overpriced monthly service
    3) Hardware hard-wired for only a single carrier

    How wonderful, I can hardly wait.

    Why don't we do this with cars next- "Get this wonderful car for only $8,000; just sign this $800 per month, 3 year contract for Exxon gas- and oh, by the way, it will only run on Exxon gas, and you are only allowed 20 gallons per month".

  • This seems a lot like the 1990s to me. Remember People PC. They in general did the same thing but with PC's and Dialup Internet. If you are going to sell people a laptop you realize that you will need to support the laptop not just your Internet connection. The reason why this works with cell phones is the fact that for the most part most of them are fairly locked down. While a PC is wide open and uncontrollable. Unless you get a $99 laptop and you cannot add or remove program except threw a safe channel

  • by walter_f (889353) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:19AM (#25594261)

    ... will indeed be able to get things done with a well-chosen netbook. The more intelligent among them (be their income low or relatively high) will prefer to buy their netbooks the traditional way, not as a part of a two-year service contract.

    On the other hand, whoever expects to satisfy their computing needs with an iPhone or a similar device will end up dissatisfied, and doubly so when on a service contract that has to be paid for monthly from a low income.

  • by Carrot007 (37198) <Carrot007@thewib ... uk minus herbivo> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:29AM (#25594311) Homepage

    I cannot understand why anyone would want to pay the mobile companies twice.

    I currently can use my mobile when appropriate but when I need something more I use bletooth to connect my eee to my phone to use it's connection. Yes this does mean paying more on my phone contract but not as much as 2 contracts would be from what I have seen on these plans already. (I'm in the UK they have been selling like this for quite while now)

    Only thing that probably sucks is when it comes time to renew my contract and get a nice shiny new phone there will be no bolt on options and I will be forced to have two contracts to make the mobile companies more money.

    This is not a good thing, the only people who would needa mobile broadband only option are people without a mobile. For the rest it should just be bluetooth or whatever to the mobile phone. Yes I realise the operators in the US try to discourage you from this or ban it on most plans, but that is just bollocks, if i can use the interent on my phone whats the difference if I can connect another device? NOTHING, that's what, it just does not help them rip you off.

  • I think it should be "why we will get netbooks after paying 100Euro immediatly". Please avoid the word "cost". It implies somehow that you do not pay something later. At the current subsidiation rates for mobile devices by cross financing, for many devices the original "price" is not more than a token of goodwill.

    If could make a single law regarding that it would be that the contract financing the mobile device should be something which is made separately from the contract for the mobile sata transfer. Some

  • Celphone: $60/mo -- but you can only use its data functionality with crippled browser.

    Data plan that allows you to attach a computer: $60/mo more on top of that.

    Worse yet, Verizon until recently didn't keep theit users from using their "1x" data service, only asking for $60/mo to get access to faster EV-DO network. Now "1x" is blocked unless, of course, the user bypasses their retarded configuration that allows them to distinguish calls from the phone itself from calls made through the phone using USB or Bl

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      I wouldn't be doing Verizon with this one.

      Sprint. They offer their data plans separate and for a relatively reasonable rate with or without a phone contract attached. Moreover, it seems that while they don't have as much penetration of total voice coverage that Verizon has arranged, they have more high-speed coverage than Verizon seems to have (For example... While my EVDO phone has full-on coverage, GPS, etc. here in the DFW area, on a trip to OKC to acquire some new horses at auction for the horse farm

  • by tyme (6621) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:40AM (#25594367) Homepage Journal

    There is a big difference between the subscription plan you buy with your mobile phone and subscription plans like this: with the mobile phone, the thing the customer is actually interested in isn't the physical phone, but the ability to make phone calls on the network, so paying the subscription fee makes sense for the consumer; the cost of the phone, which is usually indexed to the customer's desire for features/prestige/etc. is incidental to the actual thing being sold: access to the wireless network. With all these plans to sell full-fledged computers by tacking their price onto some other service, the problem is that the other service is usually incidental to customer's actual interest: the computer. If the customer doesn't really want the thing you are trying to sell, then you will have a tough time keeping them in the subscription plan.

    This was tried by a number of companies in the late nineties, and all failed miserably. Apparently there are a bunch of young MBAs out there who didn't learn the lesson of the iOpener.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fredmosby (545378)

      But in 2008 most people use a computer mainly for web browsing and email, so for most people a computer is useless without an internet connection.

  • I'm sorry, maybe a mixture of demand and my ignorance has confused me but wern't these netbooks (i'm looking at you 701) should have cost $99? Now we've got netbooks creeping past £400($600-700USD). I love these devices but my XPS 2.5Ghz Penryn, 4gig ram (yadyada)cost barely a few hundred dollars more. The size difference isn't that amazing on the new 10" models. Speaking of which, why the seriously crap resolutions? 1024*600, 800*480. My Sony U3 [that was subsiquently stolen :@], which is kn
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jorophose (1062218)

      Speaking of which, why the seriously crap resolutions?

      It's because of people who want XP on these machines. Microsoft does not want XP on machines with resolutions bigger than 1024x768, with more than a single core 1.6GHz CPU, and 1GB of RAM.

      So unless the OEMs are going to grow some balls and sell machines with dual-core atoms and 1280x768 equipped with Linux, you're going to have a technically inferior machine with XP or the better one with choice of Linux or Vista. (see: HP Mininote. 1280x768, runs Vista and SUSE.)

      These are also LED-backlit; I don't know if

  • This has been the happening for a year now or something, longer time anyways.

    Nothing upfront, laptop + wireless broadband (GPRS i think) 15-29euros a month, 2 year contract.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:54AM (#25594797) Homepage Journal

    Seems like not so much a bargain. But that's just me.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Depends on if you were going to get data access or not. If you're getting both, then $59/mo for what you'd have gotten ANYHOW means that you got a laptop with access for $100. If you're not doing that, then it's not a good deal, no.

    • So, $59/month x 24 plus $100 = $1500

      Seems like not so much a bargain. But that's just me.

      You're getting wireless internet the whole time. For some, it's worth it.

  • by rlp (11898)

    Today's Woot has a new Acer net book for $289 with no subsidy. The downside - smallish three cell battery.

    • by cashman73 (855518)
      It has Linux, too! =) But if you look at some of the comments, wooters are complaining and wanting to know how to put Windows XP on it?!?!
  • Its called Deflation, and its here.
  • $100 Linux based MIPS laptops [linuxdevices.com] are much better but don't have the CPU power of the others. That is the $100 laptop I might buy.

  • Linux version $99, Windows version $99 plus 2 year contract.

    I'm ok if they add the 2 year lease on the Window version.

    Windows users like leasing software, paying every year, hoping that this version fixes some of the annoyances of the last one.

    Why exactly does binary only software cost money, when software that comes with source code is free?

  • by wikinerd (809585) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @08:04PM (#25598767) Journal

    There is a problem here, in that the mobile phone network operators have a very different philosophy than computer manufacturers.

    Network operators are used to sell a service, and they see the device just as a necesary evil in order to sell the service. The effect of this is that most devices they sell tend to be locked-down, not transparent to the user, and stripped off of unwanted functionality (my PDA clamshell came with lots of software, for web browsing, for email, for many things, even many things I didn't really need, except the one thing I really needed most which I had to install myself and was one of the reasons for wanting a PDA in the first place: a python interpreter that I could use to hack around while waiting in the queue in the bank).

    Yet computers in the epic 1980s era always included at least a programming language as a standard offering. Literally, even users who didn't know how to program had a programming language sitting in their ROM, floppies, or hard disk, because computer manufacturers (in that era, at least) were used to sell a kind of machine which is not very useful without a programming language built-in: the general programmable computer. Many machines from that era even booted up directly into a programming environment which was inseparable from the operating system.

    After the heroic epoch of 1980s, PC clones dominated the market and Microsoft (but Apple also has to bear responsibility here) popularised a different philosophy: that the user is not supposed to know how to program and that they should be made to learn how to program in order to use a computer. Computer manufacturers started packaging computers with the idea that what they sell is not a computer per se but rather just a platform to run applications.

    But even in the applications era it was easy to get into programming because, after all, the programming language could be installed as an application and used like any ordinary program. Therefore, the amateur tinkering (hacking, and I mean nothing bad by this word, it is the crackers who do bad things) spirit did not die, because those who felt the urge were able to find and set up a programming environment quickly.

    At some point a great threat to the applications era appeared while the media and entertainment industry started moving into computing with technologies like the DVD: it was the combination of digital restrictions management (DRM) and treacherous computing (some people say "trusted", but one has to wonder how you can trust a computer that refuses to obey you). The philosophy of selling computers was threatened to turn from "selling application platforms" (after it was already shifted from the 1980s "selling general programmable computers") to the evil "selling platforms for specific/allowed applications only". This threat is still alive, but unfortunately now a second threat is appearing.

    The second threat to the "selling platforms for applications" is, again, twofold: part of the threat comes from the rise of cloud computing, and another part from the entry of mobile telephony network operators into computing with such arrangements as bundling a netbook with a service plan. These developments threaten to change the philosophy of selling computers to "selling platforms for services". Computers will not be seen as application platforms anymore, not even as platforms for "trusted" applications. If this threat materialises, computers will be seen simply as devices needed to access a service, whether this service is mobile telephony, weather reports, stock market news, cloud-based word processing, video delivery, or email. Users in the future will forget the notion of application, just as most of them have forgot the notion of general programmable computer now. They will only know computers as windows (pun intented) that give them access to a service.

    There is really no reason to believe that netbooks sold bundled with service plans by mobile phone network companies will resemble the netbooks we now know. Now they

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