Today we found out that Best Buy will be the exclusive carrier for the Nokia Booklet 3G in the U.S., offering it with an AT&T contract ($60/month for 5GB of data transfer, unless Nokia somehow convinced AT&T to give a discount with it, which I doubt). There’s no official word on the pricing as of yet, but even so, getting Best Buy to be the exclusive carrier is *HUGE* for Nokia.
Of course, you’re immediately wondering why, given that it’s going to come with an AT&T contract. Why wouldn’t Nokia want the Booklet 3G to be sold in AT&T stores, as there’s surely more of those than there are Best Buy stores, right? Sure, but people go to Best Buy for electronics – such as laptops. In fact, the last 3 laptops I’ve purchased have come from Best Buy. People go to AT&T stores to complain and to buy phones.
Also, Best Buy is quickly becoming *the* destination for netbook shoppers. The last time I was in there, they had over 10 different netbooks, lined up at the ready for users to check out. I’ve seen the Nokia Booklet 3G, and I’ve seen it side-by-side with my beloved Asus 1000HE EeePC. If you have them both lined up next to each other, the Booklet 3G will win every time in the looks department. Throw in the impressive specs (such as the 12-hour battery life) and high resolution display and it quickly becomes a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, we don’t know how much they’re going to want for the Booklet 3G. The announced pricing puts it roughly $800+ without a subsidy, but Nokia is going to have to get it down to around $200-300 with that AT&T contract in order for it to really be a competitor. Time will tell. In any case, I would imagine that this holiday season will be a stellar time for the carriers to hawk their connected netbook offers, and I’m glad to see that Nokia intends to get its piece of that pie in the U.S. I know I’m anxiously awaiting the opportunity to pit the Booklet 3G against my 1000HE to see which one dominates the other.