I was obviously intrigued and skeptical when I heard that a netbook was being sold for under a dollar, so I felt the urge to investigate further. Here’s what I was able to uncover. Sprint Nextel has teamed up with Best Buy to offer the Compaq Mini 110c-1040DX Netbook for 99 cents. As incomprehensible as that seems, its true, but the required two-year service contract is where the money is being made.
The Compaq Mini offers a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 160GB hard drive. It also features a 10.1-inch anti-glare widescreen display, 5-in-1integrated digital media reader, 92 percent keyboard, built-in-webcam, and a variety of eye-catching features.
The 3G wireless service that you are required to purchase through Sprint will cost you $60 a month for 5GB of data per month. This adds up to costing you around $1,440 once you have purchased the wireless service over the two years.
Verizon Wireless and AT&T plan to also sell the Compaq Mini with a two-year service plan for $199.99 through Best Buy. Verizon currently offers two different wireless service packages. You can select the $40 a month plan which offers 250MB of data monthly or the $60 a month plan that allows for up to 5GB of data per month.
AT&T offers very similar pricing. For up to 5GB of data it will cost you $60 a month, and for 200MB of data it will cost $40 a month. The advantage to AT&T’s deal through Best Buy is that it doesn’t just offer the Compaq Mini but gives you the option to choose between it, the Acer Aspire One, Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and Mini 12, or the LG Xenia all for a base price ranging from $50 to $250.
Although this is an offer that could easily draw in a crowd, if customers do the math they will realize that with the two-year service plan these netbooks will end up costing them way over $1,000 in the end. Hopefully people will realize that this isn’t such a hot offer and will search for a better, cheaper mini-laptop deal.