Forget about Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) -- Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) wants to sell you your next netbook. Or your first, if you've yet to jump on the bandwagon.
Was this what Nokia's executive vice president of devices, Kai Oistamo, meant when he said a deal to put Office Mobile on its Symbian smartphones was scratching the surface of his company's alliance with Mr. Softy? (Nokia's netbook will run Windows.)
Perhaps. It's more likely that the lines are blurring. "[The Nokia netbook is] not going to be ... huge compared with its mobile portfolio, but strategically it's where devices are headed," Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.
He's right. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) sells both smartphones and computers, as does Dell, thanks to a recent deal with China Mobile (NYSE: CHL ) .
What's more, telcos and retailers have been talking about offering netbook subsidies, just as they do for certain mobile phones. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) in July was selling HP netbooks for $0.99 each, on the condition that buyers also sign up for a 3G wireless service plan. Now Nokia wants in on the party.
My guess is it's already too late for the "Booklet 3G," as Nokia calls it, to have an effect here in the U.S. But in Europe and Asia, where Nokia is strong, and where netbooks already have appeal thanks to cheap Asian manufacturers such as Asus and Acer, this device may be exactly the growth catalyst shareholders have been hoping for.
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