On Halloween, our spooky Mark “The Great Pumpkiniser” Wilson discovered $US200 Eee netbooks were a distinct possibility next year. That’s a great start, but there was also word this weekend that $US99 netbooks could be around the corner too. Of course there’s a catch, and anyone with a mobile phone can probably guess what it is.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the catch is the netbooks will be subsidised. Instead of paying full price for an Asus Eee PC, the Dell Mini 9 or HP 2133 Mini-Note, customers will pay $US99 and agree to a two-year broadband contract. The WSJ reports that HP is already well underway with talks with unnamed carriers. The paper speculates Dell and Asus are talking too.
Leading the rumour mill talk is AT&T, says the WSJ, which already has a deal with Lenovo and Ericsson to sell ThinkPads with a $US150 discount (or, what the industry thinks a two-year broadband contract is worth). If you subtract that $US150 from a netbook, well, you have yourself quite the little deal now, don’t you?