Nokia's Booklet 3G Gamble

Nokia’s Netbook Gamble
I don't quite understand Nokia's thinking, but the company has made it official that its Booklet 3G, its first true netbook PC (or any type of full PC for that matter) will come to the states through AT&T and Best Buy on October 22. Entering into the increasingly crowded netbook space could be risky for Nokia.

First off, the device will run a pricey $599 unsubsidized. To me, that's pretty astronomical for a netbook. Let's take a look at those specs, and for fairness let's for now forget about the 3G data capability.

It runs a Intel Atom 1.6GHz chip -- the same used in the market-leading Acer Aspire Ones -- and includes Wi-Fi, a 120GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, and a 10.1? display. My Acer has all of that, and was $259 without any subsidy.

The only thing I could find that my netbook doesn't have is Bluetooth, and an accelerometer (oh, and Windows 7 out the box: mine runs XP). So essentially, are we paying here $300 for 3G, which we'll also be required to sign up for a $60 per month data plan for two years? That's pretty steep.

While no doubt this entrant has a lot to do with Nokia's recent cozying up to Microsoft, however, I'm a little confused as to "why now." With Acer and others able to give us netbooks under $300, how many people are going to be able to justify paying that plus an extra $2000 or so over the life of the contract just for data?

Right now I just don't think there's a market for it.

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