Dell jumps into the carrier-subsidized netbook game with the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook.
Following moves by AT&T in April and Verizon in May to offer netbooks for as low
as $49.99 with the purchase of their monthly mobile broadband plans, network
operator Sprint unveiled its first netbook: the Dell Inspiron Mini 10.
The netbook is currently available at select Sprint stores throughout the
Twin Cities for just $199.99 with activation on a Sprint Mobile Broadband plan
and a two-year service agreement, after a $100 mail-in rebate.
Dell Inspiron Mini 10 features embedded EV-DO Rev. A wireless service from
Sprint that supports faster data rates and higher system capacity. EV-DO Rev. A
provides customers with expected average upload speeds of 350K to 500K bps and
download speeds of between 600K bps and 1.4M bps. Peak download data rates
increase to 3.1M bps (from 2.4M bps), and peak upload data rates increase to
1.8M bps (from 153K bps). Sprint said these faster speeds enable customers to
take advantage of more bandwidth-heavy applications and services, such as
wireless voice-over-IP (VOIP), high-speed video telephony, music on-demand and
Customers purchasing Dell Inspiron Mini 10 will also sign up for Sprint's
Mobile Broadband Connection Plan offering 5GB of data for $59.99 per month with
a two-year service agreement. "It offers an affordable way to stay in touch and
stay connected," said Sprint's senior vice president of product development,
Kevin Packingham. "Dell Inspiron Mini 10 is a fun way to easily access the
speeds of Sprint's network to catch up on e-mail, surf the Web and more."
The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 weighs 2.6 pounds and measures 10.3 inches long,
7.2 inches wide and just over an inch thick. It also boasts a 10.1-inch LED, 1,024-by-600
WSGVA screen, an Intel Atom processor Z520, Microsoft Windows Home XP SP3
Edition, a built-in 1.3MP Webcam, 160GB hard drive, integrated Intel 500 Media
Accelerator Graphics, five-in-one media reader, Bluetooth connectivity and
Wi-Fi 802.11g capability.
Sprint's offer appears similar to the plans offered by competitors AT&T
and Verizon: In order to buy the HP 1151NR netbook with the Verizon plan,
customers must sign a two-year contract and buy Verizon's Mobile Broadband
plan, which starts at $39.99 per month, although Verizon does offer a
$59.99-per-month plan with faster downloading speeds. Verizon also offers a
global service plan with the HP netbook. The $199 price for the HP Mini 1151NR
mininotebook comes after a $50 rebate.
AT&T's offer is held in combination with the company's "Internet at Home
and On the Go" broadband services plan, as part of a limited trial offer in
select company-owned stores. With the purchase of the AT&T Internet at Home
and On the Go plan-which includes an AT&T DataConnect plan and AT&T
Fast Access DSL, and starts at $59.95 per
month-the netbooks are being offered for between $49.99 and $249.99.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.