AT&T offer subsidised phones. Like, you pay $99, then get a phone to keep so long as you sign up to an AT&T contract. But would you do the same for a handheld?
Don't laugh, we're serious. Because AT&T are serious. Glenn Lurie, AT&T's president of emerging devices, has told Investor.com of the company's plans to move beyond just phones and start offering contracts on a whole range of devices:
The economics for us are terrific. We're willing to invest to get a customer. We're very comfortable with the margins we're going to receive on these netbooks, in the deals we're talking about.
Those "deals" include offering subsidised contracts on such non-phone items as netbooks - which, obviously from his statement above, they've already begun - before moving onto stuff like cameras, GPS systems and "portable video game machines". Which must surely mean the DS & PSP.
So, question remains, would you sign onto a contract like this? Pay, say, $50 upfront for a PSP, then $10 a month for two years? Sounds crazy, since that's a lot more money than one costs up-front, but AT&T (and other companies) sell a lot of phones on exactly that kind of deal.
AT&T Sells Netbooks Like It Sells iPhones, With Upfront Subsidy [Investor, via G4]