HP is hardly the first company to pack a modem into its netbooks that will let users connect to the internet over a cellular connection. But while most of these 3G-enabled netbooks are sold through telecoms that require customers to sign up for a multi-year service contract, HP has announced plans to offer wireless computers contract-free in Japan starting next month.
According to Business Week, users who purchase the laptops, netbooks, and touchscreen tablets will get 100 minutes of free airtime. For more, you’ll be able to pay-as-you-go. The computers could sell for as low as $50 to $100 in an attempt to attract customers.
The move means that HP won’t have to split revenue with the company’s existing wireless carriers, and that could lead to a whole new business model for PC makers like HP. Right now, the company sells hardware and support services. But this move could open HP up to new ongoing source of revenue.