Vodafone gains Dell mini-laptop exclusivity, but subsidies in question

Vodafone will be the only European operator able to sell the new Dell Inspiron Mini 9 laptop, which includes a solid-state drive and inbuilt HSDPA modem. The announcement, which will also see Dell selling the new Mini 9 laptop (presumably with Vodafone airtime), said pricing would become available within 'weeks', with speculation that Vodafone will partly, or wholly, subsidise the €380 Dell wants to charge for the new device.

Speaking at a Citigroup Technology Conference last week, Dell CEO Michael Dell said he expected mobile operators to subsidise these new low-cost laptops -- now being labelled netbooks. "Telcos will embrace these netbooks in order to sell 3G and, later, 4G services. It's the type of product that could easily take advantage of data," said Dell. Observers read this as Dell intending to follow the well-used model of cell phone subsidies to launch its range of netbook devices

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