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Nokia's New Netbook Faces Price Battle

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Nokia (NOK) took a sleek plunge into the PC market Tuesday with the introduction of its first netbook computer.

The device, called Booklet, will cost $299 at Best Buy with a two-year, $60 data plan on AT&T (T), a $1,740 total price over the course of the contract. The thin, metal mini-laptop runs on Microsoft's (MSFT) new Windows 7 operating systems and Intel's (INTC) stripped down Atom chip.

In appearances, the slim shiny body approximates Apple's (AAPL) MacBooks and boasts a 12-hour battery time, though use of the 3G connection will cut that battery time significantly. In addition to the 3G network access, the Booklet includes GPS and WiFi.

Nokia 3G Booklet

AT&T's emerging devices manager Glenn Lurie told reporters at a New York Nokia media event that Best Buy (BBY) made the decision to sell the Booklet for $299 and for $599 without a service contract.

Lurie also hinted that there would be cheaper data plans coming from AT&T. Most netbooks sell for around $300 and users typically connect to the Internet through WiFi or a wire from their home networks. Telcos subsidize the consumer cost of the devices in exchange for two-year data plans. But the steep additional costs have been one of the barriers to better sales.

AT&T is aware of that, and the company has started to show some flexibility with data pricing.

"We need to give customers more choice" on data plans, Lurie said, adding that AT&T "will have some announcements before the holidays."

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