Asus adds integrated wireless broadband to Eee PC netbooks

Eeepc901b00You can’t really have a NETbook without connectivity to the Internet, right? I suppose you can, but it’s not nearly as much fun or broad of an experience. Speaking of broad, Asus is adding integrated wireless broadband to the Eee PC line, starting with the 901 model next month. It’s not just 3G, it’s three-and-three-quarters-G with support for HSUPA. That means if the wireless network in your area is up for it, you’ll have speedy downloads of up to 7.2 Mbps and 2 Mbps back up.Although no radio frequencies were mentioned, here in the U.S. I’d expect this device to be usable on the AT&T 3G network. We’ll have to wait for more specifics to hear about network support and pricing as well. This is sure to add to the cost of the device, but it also opens up an emerging trend: subsidized netbooks. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to have a network provider pay some or most of the device cost directly to Asus. In that case, consumers would pay little out of pocket for the Eee PC but have a long-term commitment to a data plan to use the wireless broadband.While integrated wireless connectivity will be welcomed by most, I personally stay away from these types of solutions in favor of USB devices like my USB727 to offer the same feature. Using multiple devices vastly reduces the benefit of a single device with integrated wireless broadband, but I suspect I’m in the minority on this. I’m also wondering: if netbooks moves towards integrated connectivity (other than WiFi, of course), what does this do to the MID market?

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