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Verizon hangs 3G contract on HP netbook

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Verizon will unleash its 3G netbook over the weekend, and - as expected - it's an HP.

The HP Mini 1151NR netbook will hit the Verizon website and US Verizon stores on Sunday, May 17, the company announced today. It will be priced at $249.99 - though Verizon prefers to call that $199.99 with a $50 mail-in rebate. Naturally, buyers must also sign a two-year contract for stateside Verizon EVDO wireless access.

You can choose between two wireless plans: $39.99 per month for 250MB of data downloads and 10 cents for each extra megabyte or $59.99 per month for 5GB and five cents for each extra megabyte. Believe it or not, that's an improvement over the company's existing offers. Previously, $39.99 got you only 50MB of downloads, and extra megabytes were 25 cents on both plans.

Equipped with a Qualcomm Gobi chipset, the new netbook also provides CDMA and GSM access in 175 locations around the world. Verizon's "GlobalAccess Monthly Plan" starts at $129.99 per month month, offering 100MB in more than 30 international destinations ($0.005 per extra kilobyte) and 5GB in the US and Canada ($0.25 per extra megabyte). All other destinations are charged on pay per use rate.

The pay-per-use rate is $0.002 per kilobyte in Canada, $0.005 per kilobyte in Mexico, and $0.02 per kilobyte elsewhere.

Measuring one by 10.3 by 6.6 inches and weighing 2.4 pounds, Verizon's HP Mini includes 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, a 10.1-inch display, a 1.6GHz Atom processor, one gigabyte of memory, and an 80GB hard disk drive. Naturally, it runs Windows XP Home Edition.

But before you buy you might consider that HP sells its own Minis for around $300 - without a two year contract. Verizon sells EVDO day passes for $15 a pop.

Verizon rival AT&T has also followed British wireless carriers into the netbook market. Sold through Radio Shack retail stores, it's Acer netbook sells for but $99 with a two-year contract. In certain markets, AT&T is also offering low-cost netbooks from Dell and LG. ®

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