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Netbooks free with cellular contract?

Aug 29, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 21 views

LG Electronics announced a netbook that sports a built-in HSPA (high speed packet access) modem, and may be available from carriers in subsidized form. The X110 has a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 10-inch screen, 80GB or 120GB hard drive, 802.11b/g, and a wired Ethernet port, says LG.

(Click here for a larger view of LG's X110 netbook)

The Korean electronics giant unveiled its new netbook today at the IFA 2008 show in Berlin, but hasn't yet published some key specifications such as size, weight, or anticipated battery life. Another mystery is whether Linux, Windows XP, or both will be offered.

Still, the information LG did provide suggests that the X110, rumored to be a modified version of MSI's Wind, hasn't fallen very far from the netbook tree. Said to be available in white, pink, and silver, the X110 has the following typical netbook specifications, according to LG:

  • A 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, with the 945GMS northbridge and ICH7M southbridge
  • 1GB of memory
  • A 80GB or 160GB SATA hard disk drive, with a 6GB SSD (solid state disk) option
  • Ten-inch display with 1024 x 600 resolution
  • A 10/100 Ethernet port
  • 802.11b/g wireless networking
  • Windows XP Home operating system

But, while many of us are ready to cry “enough, already,” when it comes to new netbook announcements, the X110 also includes a new hardware feature, plus a rumored alternative sales model. The device comes with an integrated cellular modem, capable of GSM-based HSPA data networking worldwide, according to LG.

Apparently the first netbook to have this feature, the X110 raises an interesting question: Since netbooks now cost no more than smartphones, why couldn't the devices be dished out with new cellular contracts just as phones are? That's exactly what LG, leveraging its status as a major phone supplier, has in mind, according to rumor.

Earlier this month, the UK carrier Orange began giving away the Asus Eee PC 900 netbook, along with a USB-based 3G/GPRS modem, to any customers signing up for two years of service. Not including postage charges, the deal costs 25 U.K. pounds per month, or approximately $1080 over the life of the contract.

LG hasn't commented publicly on any similar plans for the X110. Still, should you ever encounter the likes of an AT&T or T-Mobile netbook, remember — you saw it here first.

Further information

As mentioned above, LG has not yet released full specifications for the X110, though it did note that the device will become available in Europe at the end of October. More information may become available on the company's website, here.

Meanwhile, the device can be viewed until Sep. 3 at one of LG's IFA booths, although which one was not specified. They are Hall 11, Booth 2 (“display and media”), and Hall 1, Booth 1 (Home Appliance).

For Orange's Eee PC “giveaway,” see the carrier's website, here.

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