AT&T yesterday announced that the company would be offering netbooks for just fifty bucks in two major areas. Kinda.
The company made the announcement at CTIA in Las Vegas, telling attendees that AT&T was offering a choice of the Acer Aspire One, Dell Inspiron Mini 9, Dell Inspiron Mini 12 or LG Xenia at prices ranging from $49.99 and up to $249.99. It's open to residents in Atlanta and Philadelphia, but the offer isn't available anywhere else as of yet.
Where’s the catch? That’s the subsidized price, which requires you to sign up for a two year broadband contract with the mobile provider. AT&T's Internet at Home and On the Go plan packages start at $59.99 per month (including AT&T DataConnect and Wi-Fi) meaning you’ll make up the price of a regular netbook (about $400) in less than six months. We knew it was too good to be true! The devices by themselves range from $449.99 right up to $599.99.
Obviously, we’re tempted to say there’s absolutely zero point in taking the provider up on this offer but then again, it sort of depends on your internet plan and how much you use the net at home and while traveling. This deal would make a lot of sense to someone who works from home and brings their computer on the road with them when they travel. Similarly, for kids going off to college and in need of both an internet connection and laptop, this could be pretty sensible.
With what you pay for your internet at the moment, does this offer even begin to tempt you or does it make more sense for you financially to stick with the PC and plan you have now?
I believe direct tv no longer requires a land line, so this might actually save me money in addition to the 'free' nettop. Too bad it's not in my area...
it's no different than buying a standard cell phone. Those 0 dollar phones really aren't free. you pay the cost of them easily in your monthly plan.
this looks like a steal though. Up here in Canada our cell providers have yet to adopt meaningfull packages for data. None as of the last time i checked offer unlimited data plans and all still charge per the KB.
wtf? I'm pretty sure rogers has $7/month for unlimited data for PAYG phones.
Selling cheap, or giving away free, netbooks is just the natural extension of that.
As for who would buy them, I see the majority of customers being of the typical cellphone user. Non-technical people who simply want a full-time internet connection at home and on the road along with a cheap laptop. Since most of us technically inclined people purchase our own Internet connection and computer equipment separately we not only understand the details involved but we also enjoy the freedom of choice available. The standard individual though would probably benefit from this.
Actually, this is nothing new in the computer industry either. For years AOL, MSN and other Internet ISP companies have tried to sell cheap computers in the stores requiring you to sign up for their 2 year online service.