Sprint Offers Dell Mini Netbook

The $200 Dell netbook includes a two-year 3G service plan.
Sprint on Monday introduced a $200 Dell netbook with a two-year service plan to the wireless carrier's 3G data network.

Mini 10 Netbook

Mini 10 Netbook
(click for larger image)

The company is offering the Inspiron Mini 10 at the low price after a $100 mail-in rebate.

Dell sells the Mini 10 on its Website for a starting price of $299. The Sprint product has a 10-inch diagonal screen, an Intel Atom Z520 processor, Windows XP, a 160 GB hard drive and built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support. The same system costs $349 through Dell. Sprint's broadband plan comes with 5 GB of data for $60 a month, which is typical among wireless carriers.

The latest product is not the first subsidized netbook Sprint offers in return for a two-year service contract. The company in July teamed up with Best Buy in selling a $389 Compaq Mini netbook from Hewlett-Packard for 99 cents. The system, available only through the electronics retailer, included an Atom processor, 10-inch display, 160 GB hard drive and Windows XP.

The Best Buy product was the least expensive netbook offered with a carrier's service plan. AT&T and Verizon Wireless offer netbooks with service contracts for $199.

In selling netbooks, wireless carriers are trying to take advantage of a shifting market. Netbooks have been the fastest growing PC segment during the economic recession.

In the second quarter of this year, netbook revenue worldwide soared 264% from the same period a year ago, accounting for 11.7% of overall sales of mobile PCs, according to DisplaySearch.

Netbooks are typically bought as second or third computers by travelers looking for a lightweight computer with basic functionality, such as Web browsing and e-mail. The PCs are also used by schoolchildren and are bought as a first computers in developing countries where people's computing needs are limited.

InformationWeek Analytics outlines the 10 questions you need to ask to see where netbooks fit within your organization. Download the report here (registration required).

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