I think I'll have to argue this point also. You are comparing widths
So a 1280x800 should be compared to a 1024x768. Looking at it that way you are getting about 32 more vertical pixels and 256 horizontal.
800x480 = 640x480
1280x800 = 1024x768
1400x900 = ???
1680x1050 = 1280x1024
1920x1200 = 1600x1200
With laptops you also get the advantage of the wide screen matching up slightly better with the keyboard width. So with a nearly full width keyboard you don't have 3 extra inches of laptop to lug around. For simple web browsing it shouldn't matter, because most web pages extend below both wide and standard screens. So scrolling is inevitable. Besides you can always fill the extra width with a Vista or Google sidebar if you don't like the wide feel. So instead of empty air beside your workspace area you get dynamic information that can be updated. Any price differences should be expected since we are adding more pixels.
But besides that, the supply and demand issue always has to be considered when introducing new technology.
I'm sure in reality all of this is simply like an acquired taste. If we had started out with wide screen back in the 80's and now were moving to 4:3 ratio, there would be people championing the extra vertical space and those wanting to stay with what they were used to.