Once upon a time, we were all excited about the $100 laptop, Nicholas Negroponte’s OLPC (One Laptop per Child). While the OLPC did eventually see the light of day, it never did make the $100 price. Instead, OLPCs retail for about $200. Dell, however, will sell you an Inspiron Mini 9 netbook for only $99.
There is, however, a catch. To get the Mini 9 for $99, you have to sign up for a qualifying two-year AT&T LaptopConnect agreement of $60 a month or higher. If that sounds a lot like a mobile phone deal, you’ve got it in one. Dell and AT&T want to find out if people are ready to treat PCs just as if they were cell phones, where you’re really paying for the service instead of the device.
I predicted that Dell was going to explore this service/purchase plan for the Mini 9, a while back and now the deal is here. And, you know what? I think it’s a decent one.