Nokia’s Netbook gamble
NEW YORK–Nokia, the world’s largest maker of cell phones, is getting into the computer business with its new Booklet 3G, setting the stage for a new era of competition in the mobile device market.
At a press event here Tuesday, Nokia took the wraps off the anticipated Booklet 3G, a Windows 7 Netbook that will run exclusively on AT&T’s 3G wireless network. At a subsidized price tag of $299, Nokia has managed to hit the sweet spot in the Netbook market with a high-end device at a bargain price point.
Not only will the new Netbook come with Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7, but it also has a battery that lasts up to 12 hours.
“The $300 price point is insane for a premium product like this,” said Avi Greengart, research director at Current Analysis. “If you look at other Netbooks in this category that sell for about the same price you get four or four and a half hours of battery life. This will easily give you over eight hours of battery life with all radios turned on.”
Of course, the $299 price comes with strings, as all such great deals do. For this price consumers must agree to a two-year data service contract with AT&T. The service will cost $60 a month for up to 5GB of data per month. Best Buy will be the only place to get the new Netbook through the holidays. And it will also offer an unsubsidized Booklet 3G for $599, which will not require the $60-a-month AT&T service plan.
First impressions of the new Booklet 3G have been positive. The extended battery life, sharp screen resolution, and slick, lightweight design are all impressive, according to many reviewers. But the PC market has notoriously seen tight profit margins. And the new Netbook category is already flooded with competition.