It’s possible that these deals could drive the price of mini-notebooks down even further. When you buy a cellphone from your wireless carrier, odds are the price you’re paying is far below the value of the hardware. But the carrier subsidizes the cost of fancy phones by getting you to sign up for long term contracts. We could see the same thing happen with laptops, which means you might be able to knock a hundred dollars or more off the price of an already cheap laptop by committing to stick with a mobile company for a year or two.
Asus likely won’t be the first company to throw a 3G card into a low-cost laptop. ECS has already signed deals with European wireless providers to bundle and HSDPA card with the ECS G10IL laptop.