Nokia Booklet 3G To Cost $299 From Best Buy

Today at an event in New York, Nokia announced that its Booklet 3G netbook will be an AT&T exclusive, taking advantage of the carrier’s high-speed 3G network. The mini-laptop will be sold exclusively through Best Buy, priced at $299.99 with a 2-year contract from AT&T. The contract requires activation on AT&T’s $60/month Laptop Connect plan, which offers a 5GB monthly limit.

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Today, AT&T already offers 3 netbooks, from Acer, Dell, and Lenovo. All of these are priced at $199 with a 2-year contract, which positions the Nokia Booklet 3G at only $100 more. While the Booklet 3G’s suggested retail price of roughly $600+ is absurd for a netbook, this contract pricing is actually really attractive, for the right consumer. Sat beside my Asus 1000HE EeePC, the Nokia Booklet 3G looks awesome, feels awesome, and performs way better. Similarly, when positioned, for an extra $100, next to the other netbooks that AT&T currently offers, the Booklet 3G will, in my opinion, fly off the shelves.

The only sticking point is the $60/month data plan. For advanced users such as myself and most readers of this blog, $60/month for a (nearly) unlimited data plan on a netbook is quite absurd. I pay $20/month for my unlimited (truly unlimited) data plan on my regular AT&T plan, and can easily tether my phone to my 1000HE for 3G access already. However, most consumers have accepted that portable computer data is going to cost them $60/month. It’s the same on all four of the major carriers.

With the pricing and hardware in order, Nokia is in a great position to use software updates to continuously increase the value proposition of the Booklet 3G over the next year or so. The built-in GPS receiver, accelerometer, monster battery life, and integrated 3G antenna all open up the possibility of some cool applications just waiting to be developed.

What do you think? Are you interested in the Booklet 3G, or do you think it’s still priced out of this world? I hope to have a Nokia Booklet 3G for review shortly, and will definitely be doing some hard-core comparisons against my Asus 1000HE EeePC, which I think is currently one of the best netbooks on the market.

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