This morning I heard a news blip about a Netbook offering later this year from Verizon. Verizon? The phone company? Yep. I had to do a double-take on it too. There's talk that the Netbooks will be subsidized and cost about $100. I'm sure that price is a result of main-in rebates or vouchers for Verizon services. Are branded Netbooks the next big thing? Is this how companies will promote their services in the near future?

Will virtual desktop cloud vendors also offer Netbooks to their customers if they sign a 3-year contract for their services? Could be.

Will consumers go for this? Maybe.

On the surface, it sounds pretty interesting but is it as cool as their marketing team will make it sound? I doubt it.

Internet Service Providers did this a few years ago with eMachines computers and had moderate success. Unfortunately, the computers rarely lasted for the life of the contract and the customers were left with a useless computer and the balance of the 3-year contract to pay off.

Netbooks might last three years and then again they might not. But who could resist a free or very cheap Netbook with a virtual desktop service with all the perks?

Me, for one.

I'd rather pay full price for a Netbook and use some free online resources. Netbooks that come pre-installed with Linux are responsive enough to remove the desire for an online desktop right away.

It's a clever idea and I foresee a lot of people carrying Netbooks around in the near future. I won't be buying in to a service like this but I'll be watching from the sidelines. And I really want a Netbook--really.

Do you want a Netbook so bad that you would sign up for a 2-year or 3-year service? What would it take for you to purchase a Netbook plus Service?

Branded netbooks are simply the next step in the marketing process. Branded PCs never worked out, but branded phones certainly took off, mostly because consumers were already used to paying a monthly fee for telephone service.

Making them cheap is the first step in world domination. Have a beer with the marketing guys, they will understand. :)