imageGizmos like the Kindle and the Sony Reader still cost hundreds of dollars, rather steep for devices intended mainly for book-reading.

But sooner or later, as E Ink and the rest drop in price, we’ll see $100 machines.

Meanwhile, the news is good for thrifty people who favor the multi-use approach:

  • Asustek will sell a $200 EEE PC laptop next year—finally living up the old rumors it would reach that price (Digitimes via CNet). That would be half the $400 price of the Give One/Get One offer from One Laptop per Child, which, however, deserves credit for popularizing the concept of lower-priced laptops. And remember, the $200 for the Asustek hardware will buy only a laptop for you or your child, not a second one for a student in a developing country.
  • “Subnotebooks like the Asus Eee PC, the Dell Mini 9 and the HP 2133 Mini-note will soon cost as little as $99,” predicts PCWorld, which expects that cell-phone-style contracts will drive down the costs up front in the U.S. Also see a related Wall Street Journal article and In Taiwan you can already buy a $429 Asus for $29 with a two-year wirelesss contract.” Anyone know about possible rental plans in Europe?

In related news, it turns out that Lower income people are the iPhone’s faster-growing demographic, according to—thanks to reduced costs. Are there some e-book opportunities here, especially in genres such as romance? It isn’t as if all low-income people have stopped reading books, and a $4.95 e-book just might be a welcome alternative to $20 best-sellers. Savvy low-income people especially appreciate the phones as multi-use devices.

“ComScore found that while 43 percent of iPhone owners earn more than $100,000 per year, the strongest growth in users is coming from those who make between $25,000 and $50,000,” reports Between Jun and Aug. 2008, users in this income bracket jumped by 48 percent, making it three times that of those earning more than $100,000 per year. Overall, iPhone penetration grew 21 percent.”

(Thanks to Garson O’Toole for the Asus links.)

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  1. In Sweden we’ve had deals like that for 12-15 months or so. Initially they were restricted to mobile (3G HSDPA 7.2mbit) broadband in the lines of; sign up for 24 months, get the 3G dongle and a laptop for free! With a fine-print that the monthly charge was increased by about $20-$40 depending on the laptop model.

    These days the deals vary greatly, you can get a laptop with your cell phone, mobile broadband and even regular adsl/ethernet/etc internet connections. The fine print usually means you end up paying roughly the same as you would for a laptop if you bought it over the counter but if you bunch a lot of items together you can get a greatly reduced price (my personal favorite is a macbook + iphone + ipod touch + mobile internet dongle).

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