Nokia Needs To Subsidize The Booklet 3G Right Now


Somewhere between developing and rolling out its Booklet 3G, Nokia missed the message on netbooks.

Nokia's decision to enter the mobile PC space can be lauded, but the price it has slapped on the Booklet 3G completely misses the mark.

That price, $820, is generating some bad blood in the blogosphere. But Nokia can solve most of those problems by quickly partnering with telecom companies and announcing a subsidy -- a big one.

Nokia's Booklet 3G has been getting mostly good reviews from analysts and industry watchers, with a single caveat: the price. The design, concept and way the phone maker executed the phone has been more or less applauded. The $820 price tag for a netbook, though, is causing some sticker shock.

But overall, the features of the Nokia Booklet 3G are nothing to write home about. It features an Intel Atom processor, weighs less than 3 pounds, achieves up to 12 hours of battery life and is 3G-enabled.

All of those features are great, but other manufacturers have the same offerings at a fraction of the price. In fact, customers who are willing to sign a contract with a telecom like AT&T or Verizon can land a netbook for about $50 plus the price of the contract.

To say Nokia is pricing itself out of the netbook market is something of an understatement. However, not all is lost for the Finnish phone maker. In fact, Nokia is in something of a unique spot to take advantage of its position as the biggest player in the mobile device field.

It may be unfair to call on Nokia to present a subsidized price to customers just a few days after the Booklet 3G was officially rolled out. But providing a hefty subsidy will make the thought of purchasing the hardware a bit more palatable.

Of course, a subsidy from a telecom presupposes that Nokia won't be selling its netbook directly through its Web site or stocking the hardware on shelves in retail outlets. Moving into retail would be a mistake for Nokia because, quite frankly, putting the Nokia Booklet 3G with the hamstrung capabilities of a netbook next to a fully capable notebook at a similar price point won't bode well for the Finnish phone maker.