Thursday, September 11, 2008

Should I go for an embedded 3G laptop?

Everyone's excited about the recent announcement that the new Dell Mini 9 netbook that will come with Vodafone 3G mobile broadband built-in.

But, should you opt for a 3G-embedded notebooks at all?

In our view, the simple fact of the matter is that (for now) it makes no economic sense to include a 3G module and antenna in a PC unless it's definitely going to be used for a mobile subscription. Otherwise it's just a costly lump of extra electronics - not ideal for consumer or retailer - which would hurt the competitiveness of the PC in the marketplace.

At the top end of the market laptop, 3G might start to become a standard feature in the not too distant future, but if you're trying to sell a £200 low-end netbook with £25 worth of unused electronics inside, it won't make your gross margin look very pretty.

Add to this the fact that you can't then use your 3G SIM in another PC, then you're effectively limiting yourself to mobile broadband access on your netbook. One of the great selling points of mobile broadband via a dongle is that you can use it on any PC.

For us it's a no-brainer at the moment...dongle every time!

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