Mobile Carriers to Offer Win7 Netbooks

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Microsoft is expecting the launch of Windows 7 to precipitate a shift in the netbook market to a point where mobile phone networks start to offer the devices with phone contracts.

Samsung NC10

Naturally, the idea that mobile carriers might subsidise netbooks isn’t something entirely new, given that it’s how Nokia’s upcoming netbook, the Booklet 3G, is going to be launched at a sub €300 price point instead of something closer to €5-600. Still, it’s interesting to see that Microsoft has told The Register to expect that kind of deal to become more widespread.

Of course, the word from Microsoft’s Don Paterson to The Register was that netbooks will be offered through mobile carriers with “calling plans,” but we can only assume that they’ll actually be offered with subscriptions to data services, specifically.

If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see how well people respond to the idea of buying a netbook on the cheap, with Windows 7 installed and with a data plan built in. That sounds like it could well be a bit of a killer combination, a netbook with a 3G connection is a seriously useful piece of kit, having a telecom company make the hardware cheaper only makes it more attractive.

Still, for many the real question will be one of whether or they think they can be bothered with an extra bill for a data connection on a netbook or just buy the device at full price and deal with their own data setup.

O2 and Orange are listed by Microsoft as examples of companies with netbook offerings like this coming up, so we’ll be curious to see if those deals spread to Ireland (especially given O2’s fairly limited data services for smartphone users here at the moment).

If you’re interested, you should take a look at The Register’s article on Windows 7 netbooks and telecom companies; they’ve got a fair bit more detail.

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