Daily deal – Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for $99 with 2 year AT&T data plan

Well, that was fast. Remember when I posted my predictions in tech for 2009? One of my entries was “subsidized notebooks with combined data plans”.

We are just 11 days into the new year, and Dell has already made me look good by making one of my predictions come true. As of today, you can order a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for just $99 if you purchase it along with a 2 year AT&T mobile broadband subscription.

Your $99 will get you a very small computer, just over 2lbs, with built in wireless Internet access on the AT&T3G network (where available).

The Inspiron Mini 9 is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom powered Netbook with 512MB of memory and an 8GB SSD drive. The base version offered in this deal does not come with a webcam, and once you configure the machine with more memory, a larger SSD drive and Bluetooth, the final price comes to about $185. Still, a hot deal, as it includes an integrated AT&T 3G modem card tucked away inside the machine.

The easiest way to describe the deal is that you can order the Mini 9 from the Dell website, and as long as you activate the AT&T 3G modem, you are eligible for a $350 mail in rebate.

The AT&T 3G service costs $59.99 a month, and you have to activate it within 4 weeks of receiving the laptop. The mail in rebate period expires on February 12th.

If you’d prefer a similar deal, but with a slighly different computer, check out the Acer Aspire One at your local Radio Shack. The Aspire One has 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive. The base price of this machine is $449, but just like with this Dell deal, you can purchase it in store for $99 when you commit to a 2 year AT&T data plan.

Dear Gadling Readers: Best Solution for Internet on the Road?

Dear Gadling Readers,

I am going on a two-week road trip across the U.S. this summer, and I’d like to find a way to keep myself connected to the Internet. I have a Dell Inspiron 640m (e1405) and a Samsung SPH-A840 with Sprint service, so getting a data plan on my phone — along with the proper dongle to connect to my laptop — is an option. But…BUT! Is there anything better? Is there some new fangled technology I should be trying out — something that doesn’t rely on Sprint’s coverage area? The idea of satellites aligning to feed me data sounds romantic.

I’ll be camping almost every night in areas where Sprint won’t have coverage, and I can think of nothing more beautiful than sitting in the remote countryside, checking my email and downloading torrents of the TV shows I’ll be missing.

So, Gadling readers. Help me out. What options do I have?


P.S. As much as I’d like to unplug for the duration of the trip, I cannot. Reliable Internet access is a must!