Ina Fried

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Lenovo Starts Selling Own Brand of Mobile Broadband Service

Lenovo is announcing details on Monday of a new service that will allow buyers of its computers to get mobile broadband access through the PC maker.

The service, dubbed Lenovo Mobile Access, is being sold by Lenovo, but is powered by Austin-based Macheen.

Options range from around $2 for a half hour of access, or $9 for a day, to monthly plans of two gigabytes or 8GB for around $45 to $80 a month. The service is formally launching July 1, but Lenovo is already shipping laptops ready to take advantage of it.

Lenovo said the goal is to offer customers a range of options to make even occasional access an attractive option.

“Most customers have no ideas what they need,” Lenovo’s Gary Olsen said in an interview. “They are shooting in the dark.”

In the past, Lenovo has sold laptops with built-in cellular modems, but offered only the option to connect via traditional service providers such as Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. Lenovo will still offer customers the option to connect to those carriers.

Retailer Best Buy had been selling its own mobile broadband service, Connect, but announced in April that it was getting out of the business.

Macheen is also eyeing other kinds of plans, such as ones that allow businesses to pay for access to specific applications or services, as well as business models that allow third parties to sponsor access for specified applications or time periods.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald