A few months back, Sony started selling a laptop with the functionality to connect to Cingular's EDGE network built in. We pointed out then that when people are already annoyed by the fact that their phones are generally locked to one carrier, they probably won't want their laptop tied to one too. It now looks like carriers find the idea of laptop lock-in appealing, as now Dell will sell laptops with built-in connections for Verizon Wireless' EV-DO network, while that carrier's parent, Vodafone, is in talks with computer manufacturers to build in access for its 3G network to their machines. Our original objections still stand, and it's still unclear how building in access to a single network from a single provider is really very useful at all, or preferable to using data cards. Again, maybe if the operators were subsidizing the laptops like they do handsets, this scheme might be slightly less bad. But why should users let themselves be locked in to one carrier for no real benefit? Update: Verizon Wireless has announced a similar deal with HP as well. Another Update: Lenovo makes it three for Verizon.
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