Is the country ready for a $100 laptop? RadioShack
Is there a catch? You bet there is. Like wireless handsets and smartphones, the netbook is subsidized by a cell phone provider. Buyers will need to sign a two-year contract for AT&T's
Add it up and it's clearly not a bargain. Even if the netbook is worth nearly $400 on its own, one would be paying at least a whopping $1,540 (before taxes, even) over the next two years. In other words, despite the tempting sticker appeal, it is not going to win over gift-giving penny-pinchers who bother to read the fine print.
This doesn't mean that the RadioShack deal is a bad one. If you are going to make the most of the netbook's 3G connectivity by paying up for an unlimited data plan through AT&T, Sprint Nextel
This leaves me thinking, of course. If someone is willing to sign up for a subsidized netbook with an archaic operating system and a flimsy gig of RAM, why wouldn't the same deal work on a sturdier portable that will still be relevant in two years, like a new MacBook?
MacBooks start at $999 these days. How well would Apple fare marketing $600 or $700 MacBooks that are tied to data card contracts? It would certainly be one way to respond to the country's growing fascination with dirt-cheap netbooks at sub-$500 prices. It would also reach a crowd that would be more likely to pay $60 a month for connectivity than someone looking at an entry-level netbook.
Apple can't sit quietly and let netbooks with Microsoft
Forget the fine print, Apple. The writing is on the wall.
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