Well, it looks like netbooks (those cool, minimalist laptops/notebooks that were discussed in an earlier post), are being taken seriously by business. With the development of their new 3G technology, AT&T recently began a relationship with Radio Shack, whereby the retailer would sell netbooks at a reduced price, albeit with a subscription plan from the carrier. Not to be outdone by the competition, Verizon has just announced that they will begin a similar service, by early summer.
The phone companies continue to see a decrease in profits as more and more users continue to replace their “hard” line subscrptions with mobile plans (80% of people in the US now use a wireless device). It’s important for AT&T and Verizon to be creating new revenue streams as the technology continues to evolve.
As they do already with cell phones, the carriers will subsidize a large part of the netbook cost (most are in the 300-500 dollar range) in exchange for a service contract.
This may not be a bad idea on the part of the carriers. With the total PC market continuing its’ decline (remember when we would replace one every two years?) and the inevitable crossover of the smart phone beyond business to the consumer user, perhaps the time is right for a transfer of hardware. I’ll keep you posted.