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Remember those stories two weeks ago about HP quietly including a "hidden" 3G card in the HP Mini 1000 netbook? I never heard back from HP on my inquiry but it may be a moot point now. I just got word from the company that you can now add an integrated 3G option with the Mini 1000. Unfortunately, while hitting up HP Direct and configuring a Mini 1000 confirms the good news of availability, the bad news is the price. Expect to pay $199 for HP’s un2400 Mobile Broadband card. Considering that the Mini 1000 can be had for as little as $399, the additional $199 might be hard to stomach.
You’ll get your choice of Verizon’s EV-DO or AT&T’s HSPDA when you configure the option. To activate it, you’ll need the HP Connection Manager software, which was alluded to in the hidden 3G news recently. Interestingly, there are three options for configuration shown in my screen-cap above. I’ve got a note into HP wondering if the HP un2400 uses Qualcomm’s Gobi chip, which supports both EV-DO and HSDPA. I’m guessing not, but since there are three configuration options for two 3G networks you never know. Maybe that’s a "hidden" feature too.
Since netbooks are mobile companion devices, I fully understand why an "always-on" connection is desirable. That’s why I have one. But if computer makers are going to limit that connection by making it integrated, it either needs to come down in price through subsidization or they should simply offer USB options. If I had integrated 3G for each of my devices instead of my 3G USB adapter I’d be paying more for 3G than I pay for my car. That’s not appealing to me as a consumer and I’m not sure a $199 3G card for a $399 netbook will be either for many. Especially when HP sells the un2400 alone for $149.99. I’m assuming it’s the same thing based on the features and specs.
I’ll update if and when I hear back from HP on the either/or option shown above.