The newest trend among the wireless providers is to subsidize the cost of a netbook, provided you sign up for a two-year data plan. AT&T Wireless and Verizon are either doing it already, or have released information on it. Best Buy has a mobile division designed to promote these items and Radio Shack is offering an Asus with AT&T wireless service at www.radioshack.com. Sound familiar?
This is how the cell phone industry was built.
On its face it seems like a great deal, save a couple of hundred dollars and all is well. But things to consider are that it will tie you to a specific carrier for two years, it cots upwards of $1400.00 in data airtime, and it may or may not be a good deal depending on your personal needs.
I was thinking about it from a different angle, though. A huge gripe with subsidized handsets from the major carriers is that they have very restrictive rules, and a carrier can demand the manufacturer cripple many of the features of the handset. We have seen Bluetooth stacks removed, File Transfers restricted, even jailbreaks created that voids warranties.
Are we going down a bad road? We have already let wireless carriers dictate what are phones can do, do we want our computers on that same road?