Although I like the N810 design, I’ve never been a personal fan of the whole product and, objectively speaking, I think it under-performs for the average consumer. The keyboard is poor, the processing power is limited and the application suite doesn’t flow in terms of design and UI. Its not ready for consumer prime time yet although to be honest, I don’t think Nokia are too worried about that. It’s more of an early adopters product and it seems that many of them are extremely happy with it. The WiMax version has an even tighter niche market by nature of the delayed $5bn Sprint/Xohm network rollout that only seems to be hitting a handful of cities in 2008 now but it’s interesting to see how much the device will cost. How much of a premium is the average punter going to have to pay for the WiMax hardware?
According to Best Buy and reported by The Tablet Blog, it’s going to be around $50 which is a bargain when you compare it to the $150 to $200 premium that 3G hardware has been costing the end-users of UMPCs. If 3G is going to push up the price of a $400 MID by 50% then it’s going to be very hard to sell the upgrade but if the end-user cost is around $50, then its a totally different matter.
Interestingly, Intel are the manufacturers of the WiMax ‘Connection 2400’ chipset in the Nokia device and they will offer this to OEM’s building Mobile Internet Devices. The problem for 3G customers is that they don’t make the 3G modules that will go into the devices. Option are the people doing that with the GTM 501 but if Intel can convince them about the numbers then perhaps Option can be convinced that slashing the price of the 3G modules is going to make sense. Considering that 3G mobile phones don’t carry any significant premium over 2.5G phones it does appear that there’s an economy of scale that works somewhere down the line.
At the end of the day, I don’t suspect many Xohm customers will notice the hardware pricing as I feel sure it’s going to be heavily subsidised for people taking new contracts although if that’s the case, why would BestBuy be planning to sell them? The contract pricing is the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle and it will be interesting to see.
TabletBlog – WiMax edition pricing.