Sprint today joins the ranks of direct netbook sales from a wireless carrier. Starting in the Minneapolis Twin Cities area, Sprint stores offer the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 with integrated wireless broadband. As with any subsidized wireless device, customers need to commit to a two-year data plan. The $59.99 monthly charge for 5 GB of throughput adds up to over $1,440 over the life of the contract. To get customers on that contract, it looks like Sprint is willing to subsidize the netbook for $250. That’s actually less than the $388 that Sprint was subsidizing on an Compaq netbook through Best Buy earlier this year — that netbook was yours for a mere $0.99!
I checked the specs of their offering and unless I’m reading them incorrectly, this is the Mini 10 Ultimate that Dell sells directly for $449. Sprint says you can have one of these Dell Mini 10 netbooks for $199 after a $100 mail in rebate, which shows the subsidized difference. The netbook doesn’t come with Microsoft Windows 7, so you’ll either have to like XP SP3 or purchase an upgrade license for Microsoft’s latest and greatest — there goes some of that $100 rebate! If you find this deal appealing, be sure to check the complete specifications at your Sprint store against the Dell direct offerings. I see that Dell offers GPS and integrated TV tuner options to this model, but there’s no mention of such options by Sprint. All that’s listed for specifications is the 1.33 GHz Z520 Atom / GMA 500, 160 GB hard drive, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. I’d double-check if Sprint is providing the 24 Whr battery or the 56 Whr power pack for sure.