Netbooks Available in AT&T Stores Soon?

Netbooks Engadget has news that a market research firm has been conducting an online survey indicated that AT&T is considering carrying netbooks/ultraportables in AT&T stores.

This is on the heels of a Fortune Magazine interview with the AT&T executive responsible for the AT&T side of the iPhone agreement with Apple, where he mentioned that netbooks were his next target, with plans to use them to sell AT&T’s 3G mobile broadband plans.

On top of all of this, LAPTOP Magazine has an interview with Glenn Lurie, the AT&T executive mentioned above, where he confirms that AT&T plans on adding netbooks to their stores, with this response to LAPTOP Magazine’s questions:

LAPTOP Magazine: Will people be able to buy a netbook in an AT&T store at some point?

AT&T/Glenn Lurie: Yes, at some point we will carry them and many types of devices in our stores. I see us including netbooks, MIDs, e-books, portable navigation, and all types of connected devices. I also see these devices being in the traditional big-box retailers and their Web sites.

Quoting the AT&T survey material (from Engadget):

Introducing….The Netbook at AT&T

Netbooks represent a new category of ultra-mobile laptops that are small-sized and lightweight. They are optimized for wireless Internet access and browsing needs.

It then mentions some of the benefits (“compact and lightweight, easy to carry around”) and common specifications (screen size, weight, battery life) as well as mentioning no internal optical drives.

Then we have this:

Netbooks will be available in AT&T stores soon!

Only AT&T can offer the whole package –
– A broad selection of leading netbooks (Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG)
– Devices at competitive prices – starting at just $99 with a 2-year AT&T wireless data and FastAccess DSL plan subscription
– Internet access through AT&T’s 3G mobile data network, WiFi hotspots, and FastAccessDSL in the home and office

This was very interesting – they are going to provide training/consultation and setup in-store:

FREE 30-minute in-store technical consultation and support available at AT&T stores to help you learn about your device, have it personalized, synced and ready to use as soon as you leave the store

Netbooks/ultraportables/notebooks mentioned:
(Note: the contract prices below are for AT&T’s Internet at Home and On the Go)
Acer Aspire One (8.9″) – $99 for two year contract
Dell Inspiron Mini 9 – $149
LG Xenia $279
HP Mini 1000 – $299
Dell Inspiron Mini 12 – $259
Lenovo ThinkPad X200 – $779

They put the Inspiron Mini 12 in with the ThinkPad X200, which makes sense. The LG Xenia is the LG X110 which is a rebadged MSI Wind U100. The Xenia/X110/X120 are not available in the US at this point, but given that these types of surveys are typically done many months in advance of any actual action, it’s not inconceivable that AT&T would contact LG. After all, AT&T already has a corporate partnership with LG – they sell several LG mobile phones in their stores.

LAPTOP Magazine