Dell and Hewlett-Packard announced netbooks that support China's 3G standard Thursday as China Mobile, which is promoting the next-generation mobile technology, seeks new ways to attract scarce users.
The netbooks, Dell's Inspiron Mini 10 and HP's Mini 1000, launched in China with built-in data cards for the 3G standard used by China Mobile, TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access).
Chinese PC makers including Lenovo also launched 3G netbooks this week. Lenovo launched three models that can climb online through either TD-SCDMA or one of the 3G standards offered by China Mobile's rivals, Lenovo said in a statement.
China Mobile will subsidize the netbooks by matching purchases with as much as 1,400 yuan (US$205) worth of free Internet use, local media said.
China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier, is working to expand its 3G coverage beyond the handful of major cities where it is offered now.
The carrier sees partnering with PC makers to launch 3G netbooks as a way to attract users by widening its TD-SCDMA product offerings, said Ji Wei, an analyst at IDC.
The extremely small selection of handsets for TD-SCDMA has harmed take-up so far, Ji said.
There is demand for 3G netbooks in China, but their success may depend on how heavily China Mobile promotes and subsidizes them, Ji said.
China had over 640 million mobile subscribers at the end of last year, according to its IT ministry.