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AT&T takes connected laptops to small businesses


AT&T (NYSE:T) is getting more aggressive in its connected netbook push, today making its line of connected Acer (TPE:2353), HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Panasonic (NYSE:PC) netbooks and laptops available to small business customers through a relationship with technology retailer CDW.

The integrated laptops include built-in wireless connectivity to AT&T’s 3G network, which it is in the process of upgrading across the US, as well as access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi footprint of more than 20,000 hotspots. The netbooks, which start at $199, require a two-year AT&T LaptopConnect monthly service plan for $60 per month for a 5GB cap. CDW is also selling a more durable Panasonic Toughbook notebook with a $150 3G discount, along with HP 3G notebook for $870.

AT&T has been more aggressively going after the small-business market, defined by having one-to-four lines in a single location. The carrier also introduced “All for Less” last month, bundling wireless, wired and high-speed Internet service starting at $100 per month for small businesses.

Regional carrier Cellular South also indicated its intentions to get into the netbook market today with a press release announcing a netbook design competition. The contest called for its customers to design and submit a customized image or photo that could be used as wallpaper for the carrier’s soon-to-be launched Dell Mini 10 netbook. CellSouth said that it will be sold online and in its retail stores this summer with a new two-year mobile broadband agreement starting at $40 per month. Students will be eligible for a 20% discount on the plan, which is capped at 500MB monthly data allowance. The carrier also offers a $60 monthly plan, in line with AT&T’s, for a 5GB cap.

The Dell Mini 10, which will also be offered with AT&T data plans when it launches next week, received a location-enabled boost from Skyhook Wireless this week. Copying the smartphone model, the netbook will include the option to add location awareness, as well as a slew of location-based services. The device will use Skyhook’s hybrid GPS and WiFi positioning technology, also in use in the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. At launch, two LBS apps will be available – a navigation and search app CoPilot and the Loki Dashboard for customized widgets.


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