Students first to be offered $20/month Google Chrome laptop package

The blogosphere has been abuzz with discussion in recent weeks over rumours that Google is poised to launch its new Chrome-powered notebook under an innovative package that would eschew an up-front fee in favour of a low monthly payment. It looks like the rumour mill may well be right after all.

Quoting a ‘senior Google executive’, Forbes.com is reporting that Google plans to introduce a ‘student package’, pegged at $20 per month, which will include both the notebook hardware as well as all the programs and cloud services that comprise the Chrome OS software offering.

But it seems that this is only the beginning, and that this offer won’t be restricted solely to the student market. Indeed, it’s safe to assume that Google will take what it learns from this initial roll-out and apply those lessons to future offerings for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as enterprise and government sectors, at the same time as the company is working hard to push its Google Apps productivity suite to a broader range of users, especially within business environments.

The low-cost hardware and software also offers the tantalising prospect of affordable subsidies to provide inexpensive systems for low-income users or even developing markets, although the cloud-based services would still incur data charges.

If Forbes is to be believed, Google could announce this new student package as early as today at its I/O conference. It’s not yet known whether the firm plans to offer the same Cr-48 Chrome notebook that was announced and released to a limited number of users a few months back, or if new hardware will be announced; nor are there any details on whether similar packages for business and government might differ in terms of features or price to those offered to students.

One thing’s for sure though: despite the announcement of Ice Cream Sandwich unifying its Android phone and tablet offerings, Google remains committed to Chrome OS.

Would you pay $20 a month for a Chrome laptop?

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This is a product where you almost have to try to give a million reasons on why you should use it. It doesn't sell itself. And any product that can't sell itself based on it's own usefulness is destined to fail.

StevenMalone77 said,
This is a product where you almost have to try to give a million reasons on why you should use it. It doesn't sell itself. And any product that can't sell itself based on it's own usefulness is destined to fail.

These are the remarks made about the iPad and look where it is now.

Would you pay $20 a month for a Chrome laptop?

For how long? 24 months? That's about where it's stretching it for me...

Given that a laptop use to have longer lifetime than that, I'm not sure this is such a great deal.

Northgrove said,

For how long? 24 months? That's about where it's stretching it for me...

Given that a laptop use to have longer lifetime than that, I'm not sure this is such a great deal.

Well, hardware refreshes are included in that $20 a month fee, so when a new model is released, you get it and send the old back...

I think it's funny, in 2000 I said to some school friends who were attempting to write their own OS. I said "why can't everything be in the browser, why can't there be an OS written within a browser that can run things". Now here we are. Too bad I never had many other brainwaves.

As a college student with a CR-48, I can say that if I didn't have a laptop, and needed one but could not afford one, then the Chrome notebook would be the way to go. Its not as bad as you think. I've done class assignments in Google docs and tuned them in no problem.

Also the simplicity of the ChromeOS would be easy for non tech savvy people to use since its so simple and they don't have to worry about malware.

My school is considering the iPad route for students to make sure everyone has some sort of computer, I'm trying to convince them the CR-48 is a better option.

Sonerand said,
My school is considering the iPad route for students to make sure everyone has some sort of computer, I'm trying to convince them the CR-48 is a better option.

Let's play the simple whole numbers game. Let's say in your school you have 1,000 incoming freshman's a year. If you pay $20 for that Chromebook on every freshman, you spent $20,000.

The iPad route. Let's assume you are getting those low end (price) iPad's for an even lower price (yet highly unrealistic). $100 per iPad. You just spent $100,000 and you could have saved $80,000 per year. Hmm.

njlouch said,
A lot of people here saying "I would never..."

Fair play - you are not their intended audience.

So true. How many of those same people laughed at Android when the G1 first came out. Closed minds equal inability to comprehend where technology is going in the future.

There is no way this will work. Why would I want to rent a laptop? The amount of laptops that gets destroyed each year at uni through beer or being dropped is insane.

Also, what am I meant to do about using office and basically every other program thats useful? Just abandon it because I'm never EVER using Google Apps again. It's just dreadful.

Alansonit said,
Also, what am I meant to do about using office and basically every other program thats useful? Just abandon it because I'm never EVER using Google Apps again. It's just dreadful.

Google Docs just blows

Greatbigdragon said,

I don't think it's renting - I get the impression it's like buying your cellphone by signing a contract.

Except you can keep the phone after you sign the contract, I don't think that's the case here.

I honestly still don't see the appeal in owning a laptop/tablet running an OS that is limited to displaying a single browser window...

.Neo said,
I honestly still don't see the appeal in owning a laptop/tablet running an OS that is limited to displaying a single browser window...

But you can do quite a lot in that browser window - it's not just a case of 'looking at web pages' but also being able to create and edit files, watch movies and listen to music, run web apps... Indeed, Google's argument would be that in that single browser window, you can do 99% of the stuff that most people want to do most of the time. For a lot of people, that could be a very appealing prospect, especially for students and others who can't afford a single up-front lump sum, or for businesses that benefit from being able to spread the cost out over a longer period.

gcaw said,
But you can do quite a lot in that browser window - it's not just a case of 'looking at web pages' but also being able to create and edit files, watch movies and listen to music, run web apps...

I can do that on every other Mac or PC as well, plus much much more. Google's offerings are way too bland and limiting in my opinion compared to running applications installed on my Mac. A netbook will set you back, like what, €300? At least it runs a full OS allowing for much more functionality and flexibility. Plus you're forced to be online at all times with Chrome OS. No internet connection (for whatever reason) means you'll be carrying a brick around with you, not to mention the privacy concerns I have with Google.

I'm a student as well and I pay for everything myself, but even I managed to buy an iMac and an iPad 2 for on-the-go. Maybe this is a nice solution for second and third-world countries (if they have a proper internet infrastructure to begin with), but I just don't see the appeal for people living in Western countries with an average income.

I really don't want to come across as being arrogant, but every single student I know has the funds to buy at least one regular Mac/PC. It doesn't have to be a top of the line computer, but come on Chrome OS is just insanely restrictive.

With a proper 3G data plan in place it could actually become more expensive in the long run than just buying a cheap netbook running Windows 7.

Edited by .Neo, May 11 2011, 10:40am :

.Neo said,

I can do that on every other Mac or PC as well, plus much much more. Google's offerings are way too bland and limiting in my opinion compared to running applications installed on my Mac. A netbook will set you back, like what, €300? At least it runs a full OS allowing for much more functionality and flexibility. Plus you're forced to be online at all times with Chrome OS. No internet connection (for whatever reason) means you'll be carrying a brick around with you, not to mention the privacy concerns I have with Google.

I'm a student as well and I pay for everything myself, but even I managed to buy an iMac and an iPad 2 for on-the-go. Maybe this is a nice solution for second and third-world countries (if they have a proper internet infrastructure to begin with), but I just don't see the appeal for people living in Western countries with an average income.

I really don't want to come across as being arrogant, but every single student I know has the funds to buy at least one regular Mac/PC. It doesn't have to be a top of the line computer, but come on Chrome OS is just insanely restrictive.

With a proper 3G data plan in place it could actually become more expensive in the long run than just buying a cheap netbook running Windows 7.

HTML5 can do offline task easily and the 20$/month come with a Data package.
http://cloud9ide.com/ is a good example of offline html5 app

.Neo said,
I really don't want to come across as being arrogant, but every single student I know has the funds to buy at least one regular Mac/PC. It doesn't have to be a top of the line computer, but come on Chrome OS is just insanely restrictive.

Ahh, that's usually the parents who do the buying.

team_NOOB said,
$20/month for how many months?

Indefinitely.
However, you get free upgrades each time the faster model comes out, so in a way it's like a lease hire car where you just upgrade every other year when a better model is out.

JustinN said,

Indefinitely.
However, you get free upgrades each time the faster model comes out, so in a way it's like a lease hire car where you just upgrade every other year when a better model is out.

But the Chrome OS is just a browser, why would we need faster hardware? To play flash games better?

Omen1393 said,

But the Chrome OS is just a browser, why would we need faster hardware? To play flash games better?

Hardware Acceleration ring a bell? Chrome now has hardware acceleration. So imagine the Chrome Appstore with better apps like AutoCAD 5 years down the line. C'mon think big

Omen1393 said,

But the Chrome OS is just a browser, why would we need faster hardware? To play flash games better?

Don't be so obtuse. It may look like a browser but there's so much more going on under the hood that most users wouldn't even be able to appreciate. It's a very cleaver concept that Google have planned here, but it remains to be seen if people will actually want it.

TrOjAn. said,
Nah, I stay with my own laptop; more powerful for my needs

I would prefer to buy a std Netbook on loan and pay a USD 20 or such monthly fee for the required time frame []

Like HP Mini 210 having far better hardware config compare to Chrome Netbook and allowing me to install what ever OS type and platform I chose.

Choto Cheeta said,

I would prefer to buy a std Netbook on loan and pay a USD 20 or such monthly fee for the required time frame []

Like HP Mini 210 having far better hardware config compare to Chrome Netbook and allowing me to install what ever OS type and platform I chose.

Not sure what the retail chrome books will be like, but the chrome netbook i had was able to install windows on it with some slight hacking.