Highlighting the huge differences in the state of cellular carrier markets in the US and Europe is possibly the first ever carrier-sponsored netbook deal. We’ve seen this happen with UMPCs before in the U.S. (Sony UX, OQO) and you can’t walk down the high-street in the main European countries without seeing a 1-Euro netbook deal (the ASUS 901Go being a particularly interesting one) but as far as I know, its the first time we’ve seen a popular netbook get the 3G treatment in the U.S. Be careful though. It’s a trend we’ll see a lot more of in the future and both the deals and data contracts are likely to improve in a very short time.
The Acer Aspire One (#2 in the UMPCPortal popularity list) being offered through Radio Shack (160GB HDD, Windows XP) is normally $500 but for a $60 per month data contract (probably the data connect 5GB per month plan) you get $400 off the price which, if you were looking for a data plan anyway, knocks $16 per month off the price. The problem is here that the market is going to change fast. In the last 24 months in Europe data contract prices have come down by about 50% and the pricing war has only just started.
There aren’t many alternatives though. You could look at the the pre-paid ATT GoPhone MEdia Net plan. Its about $5 per week for 1GB but as it’s pre-paid, you only use it when you need it and are not committed to 2-years of contract. You’ll have to get hold of a 3G netbook somehow though or do a mod which makes the process fiddly and time consuming. Alternatively, there’s the tethering or smartphone-as-hotspot option.
If you were thinking of buying an Acer Aspire and then signing up for a $60 per month data contract before you read this, go ahead. It’s a good deal. If not, think carefully about your requirement and, if possible, try and find a 12 month or pre-paid data deal.
Source: Engadget. Via GottabeMobile.