Fellow Fool Tim Beyers saw the Nokia Booklet 3G coming a long time ago -- and he didn't really like what he saw. Specifically, Tim didn't see network providers rushing in to subsidize an expensive gadget that will tax already-stressed data networks. Yet AT&T (NYSE: T ) , with arguably the most overloaded 3G network in America, stepped in to provide subsidized service.
Starting in mid-November, you can get the Nokia netbook for $300 with a two-year data service contract -- or for $600 without the AT&T plan. That's a fair bit cheaper than the $800 price point Nokia was talking about this summer. Maybe Best Buy is contributing to the subsidies too, or perhaps the device simply turned out to be cheaper to make than Nokia had thought.
The Booklet 3G comes with plenty of selling points. The power-sipping Atom chip inside helps the device run for up to 12 hours between charges. It comes with Windows 7 installed in a sleekly designed aluminum chassis that reminds me of recent Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) laptops. And since this is a Nokia product, you should expect excellent connectivity, including GPS navigation and an integrated camera for video conferencing. The Best Buy deal also means instant access to the gadget for pretty much any consumer who'd want one.
Maybe that combination of attractive features was enough to make AT&T cast aside any network strain concerns and step in to sell the Nokia device. As smartphones get smarter and netbooks turn more mobile, it makes perfect sense to see computers from phone expert Nokia and phones from computer designer Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) . AT&T is entering a brave new world by selling both of those oxymoronic gadgets.
Would you buy a Nokia computer or a Dell phone? Discuss the blurring lines between computing and telephony in the comments below.