It’s not uncommon to find smartphones heavily subsidized with a contract agreement. That’s what you would normally expect when buying a new BlackBerry, for example. Over in Europe, you may have also noticed a recent trend that bundles subnotebooks with cellular data agreements. The same could soon be happening in North America if HP has its way.
In order to gain a larger market share, HP is looking to deploy a strategy in the United States that would see the sale of netbooks subsidized by wireless providers, just as they do with cell phones. Sign up for a wireless service contract, get an HP Mini for a lot less money.
To get a sense of how much of a discount we could be expecting, Far EasTone of Taiwan sells an Eee PC for $29 with a two-year contract, whereas retail on the netbook is $429. HP is hoping that with this strategy, it will be able to create a four-fold increase in its netbook sales through 2012.