Wireless carrier Verizon is branching out from offering just mobile phones. Last week, Reuters (and other news sites) had reported Verizon would start selling netbooks this year. Those reports were confirmed by a Verizon spokesperson who was quoted on several other web sites such as InternetNews and InformationWeek. There were no details on which netbooks or the prices of wireless data plans that would be available. But many speculate the move would be similar to AT&T's foray with RadioShack—an Acer Aspire One for $99 (instead of $300) with a two-year data plan.
The takeaway: While we haven't rated its wireless data service, Verizon has long been among the better carriers in our Ratings of cellphone service (available to subscribers). On the other hand, while the netbook to be offered by Verizon isn’t confirmed, Gizmodo has it as an HP Mini, and the only HP Mini we've tested scored low in our netbook Ratings; a successor is now in our labs and will appear soon on ConsumerReports.org. Also, many candidates for a supposedly subsidized netbook likely already own a smartphone with a data contract; will they, in tight times, want to take on yet another data bill every month? Would you?