Sticker Shock: Is Nokia Booklet 3G Pricing A Smart Move?


Nokia on Tuesday provided pricing and availability details on its new Booklet 3G netbook, which will use Microsoft's Windows 7 OS, will be powered by an Intel Atom processor, and will include a wide range of integrated services. The Nokia netbook's system prices start at $820, however -- not exactly recession-friendly pricing in a netbook market that's rapidly getting crowded.

Nokia officially unveiled the netbook last week, playing up such features as the Atom (a Z530 1.6GHz CPU, to be exact), a 12-hour battery life, 3G and Wi-Fi wireless capability, a 10-inch display, an aluminum casing, a built-in GPS and height and weight specifics of 1 inch and 2.5 pounds, respectively.

The netbook also offers Nokia's Ovi Suite 2.0, Nokia Music for PC, Ovi Maps and Social Hub, the last of which is an aggregator for feeds from social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Sure, the Booklet 3G has plenty of strong features, and given Nokia's history as a mobile phone manufacturer, there's little doubt it can leverage existing relationships with telcos to help its Booklet 3G cause. The Windows 7 inclusion also strengthens its ties with Microsoft, with which it also recently allied to bring Microsoft applications to some Nokia Symbian smartphones. And the battery life -- twice as long as most netbooks, thanks to a 16-cell lithium-ion battery -- is nothing to sneeze at.

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But it's hard to get buy that price, especially when $820 will get most users a decent laptop, let alone a netbook, and that netbooks can be had for as low as $200 in some cases when had through telco-subsidized plans like those offered by AT&T and Verizon.

Most analysts have thus far taken the same tack: good features, but way too expensive. Gartner's Carolina Milanesi told Reuters Tuesday, however, that "Nokia had to do it. You see more and more PC guys getting into mobile operators' shelves. It's kind of the counterattack, it's not just the defensive."

Point well taken, but at that hefty price, Nokia? Against practiced laptop and netbook hands like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer?

Nokia also this week pulled back the curtain on three new mobile phones, including a new version of its N97 smartphone and the X6 and X3 music phones.