I'm expecting the price of built-in 3G notebooks to come down sharply over the next 18 months, as OEMs and module vendors struggle to get the general mass of consumers interested in mobile broadband.
However, at prices like an extra $199 as charged by HP in the US, we're certainly not there yet - especially as that's up against the much more attractive "free" price point available to buyers of external USB modems. I also remain highly unconvinced that there's a massmarket of people out there who want to tie themselves into multi-year monthly contracts for their embedded notebooks. It's conspicuous that this is occurring at a time when many consumers are moving away from long-term plans for their voice phones, towards SIM-only and rolling one-month contracts.
As a quick heads-up, the Disruptive Analysis report on Mobile Broadband Computing is (finally!) published this week. Watch out for more details over the next few days.
Edit: One possibility is that some notebooks/netbooks might ship with embedded 3G modules, but with the OEM only paying its supplier if the mobile broadband is actually activated. Given the push to get more and more mobile broadband users online, I could imagine some of the more strategic suppliers (eg Ericsson or Qualcomm or the GSMA Mobile Broadband consortium) actually subsidising the modems' upfront cost, in the hope of encouraging an "aftermarket" of actual service activation.
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