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The Associated Press
NEW YORK – Nokia Corp., the world’s largest maker of cell phones, says its first laptop for the U.S. market will cost $300 with a two-year wireless broadband contract from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T).
The Finnish company is broadening its product portfolio as cellular broadband access is spreading to more devices. Some wireless carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, sell small laptops known as "netbooks," subsidizing the price in exchange for two-year contracts.
Nokia’s netbook, , will run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 7 software, have a 10-inch screen and weigh 2.8 pounds. It will be sold at Best Buy Inc. stores and online. Orders can be placed beginning on Oct. 22, when Windows 7 launches, and delivery is expected by mid-November.
At $300 after AT&T’s subsidy (or $600 without a contract), the Booklet will be more expensive than other netbooks sold by carriers. AT&T sells netbooks for $200, and Verizon Wireless offers them for $150. Sprint Nextel Corp. briefly offered them for 99 cents.
However, the Booklet will have some features standard netbooks don’t: an aluminum cover, a GPS navigation chip and a 12-hour battery life.
This isn’t the first time Nokia is making a PC. It made a wide range of products, including computers, before focusing on cell phones. It sold its computer division in 1991.
In other news Tuesday, AT&T announced an agreement with the Justice Department and the Louisiana Attorney General to sell off assets in eight markets in Louisiana and Mississippi in order to proceed with its proposed $944 million acquisition of Centennial Communications Corp.
The Federal Communications Commission is continuing to review the wireless merger, which was announced late last year. Under the terms of the deal, Centennial stockholders will receive $8.50 per share in cash.
The Justice Department said it is requiring AT&T to divest Centennial assets in southwestern and central Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi in order to preserve competition in those markets. In May, AT&T agreed to sell certain Centennial wireless assets in five of the eight markets to Verizon Wireless for $240 million.
Dallas-based AT&T expects the Centennial deal to close early in the fourth quarter.
AT&T is the second largest wireless carrier in the U.S., with nearly 80 million subscribers nationwide.
Centennial Communications has about 1.1 million wireless subscribers in six states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Late Tuesday, the Wall, N.J.-based company reported income of $19.5 million, or 17 cents per share, on $258.9 million in revenue for its fiscal 2010 first quarter, which ended in August.