Verizon Wireless plans to start offering on May 17 a Hewlett-Packard netbook for $200 to people who sign up for a two-year data service plan.
Verizon on Thursday said the HP Mini 1151NR would be available through its stores. The $200 price tag includes a $50 mail-in rebate. The service plan starts at $40 a month.
Verizon is not the first to subsidize the price of a netbook in return for a long-term data plan. AT&T recently launched a trial offer of mini-laptops starting at $50. The promotion is only available in the Atlanta and Philadelphia areas and requires customers to sign up for AT&T's at-home DSL and 3G wireless service for two years. The package starts at $60 a month.
In choosing to offer netbooks, AT&T and Verizon are tapping into the hottest-selling segment of the PC market. While analysts expect a decline in sales of standard-size laptops and desktops this year because of the economic recession, sales of netbooks are expected to increase 80% over last year to account for about 8% of the PC market, according to Gartner.
The HP Mini 1151NR has a 10-inch display and is powered by a 1.6-GHz N270 Atom processor from Intel. The product comes with 1 GB of memory, an 80-GB hard drive, and a keyboard that's 92% of standard size. The system weighs almost 2.5 pounds, is an inch thick, and comes with Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition.
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