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 video messaging.
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.