That didn't take long now, did it? But if you think about it, this makes perfect sense. According to The Toy Box at ZDNet, the regular price for the machine is $389. Clearly the 99 cent price is a gimmick -- I'd be surprised if someone hadn't tested it doing better and getting more consumer attention than free. But, really, a buck for a computer is virtually the same as nothing. And it shouldn't be surprising. At just under $390 at retail, what are the cost of goods to manufacture? Half of that? That would make it about the same price to make as an iPhone 3GS. The thing is, prices of full computers, especially as companies move to the all-in-one designs that put the computing works into the monitor, are going to continue to slide, and the costs now are at the point where giveaways as premiums, just like cell phones, make sense. I wonder how long it will be before telecom carriers ask people to sign up for three years instead of the usual two to get both a netbook and a handset.
Illustration via stock.xchng user ba1969, standard site license.