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From Cellphones, To GPS, To… Dog Collars?

Now that we are all addicted to mobile phones — so addicted that some of us pay $200 a month for a family plan — AT&T is thinking, “Why stop there?”

Why not subsidize portable GPS and even in-car navigation, netbooks and portable gaming?

Apparently the company is examining the prospect of subsidizing all of the above, according to reports.

The cellphone market is approaching the nadir of household penetration and so AT&T is looking to other products to keep the monthly fees rising. We may need look no further than the corner carrier store for the next possible Circuit City behemoth.

This isn’t a brand-new revelation, but it’s gaining momentum. TWICE senior editor Joseph Palenchar recently chronicled the carriers’ latest expansion into home telephony. quoted AT&T’s president of emerging devices Glenn Lurie back in November. He has been credited with signing the deal with Apple to subsidize the iPhone. In the fall he was quoted as saying he is looking into subsidizing PCs of all types and even in-dash car telematics products, as well as digital picture frames, and … dog collars.

Now that the Internet is so old that eBay has to change its game plan yet again, it’s time for CE industry members to think beyond ecommerce as its next big challenge. No, it may not be the economy, but the wireless carriers.