Google just announced something that’s been rumored for a few weeks. They’re going to be releasing a paid subscription model for their Chromebooks, which are laptop computers from Samsung and Acer loaded with the Chrome OS. Prices start out at $20 per month for educational clients and $28 per month for enterprise users.
It’s worth noting that customers will have to sign a 3-year contract to get these machines at this monthly price. This makes it sound a lot like financing to me. At that price, the overall cost of these laptops is significantly higher than a if you just bought them outright. The only real benefit is that troubleshooting warranty is included at this price. Overall, for businesses, it depends on how many computers you’ll end up buying and if it makes sense for the bottom line. It might work well for certain types of businesses and for people who don’t want to deal with the hassle of maintaining a laptop.
The Chromebooks include the Samsung Series 5, which comes with a dual-core 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 chip, a 1MP webcam, and a 16GB SSD. There’s an SDXC card reader and VGA out via an “optional” dongle. It will cost $429 for the WiFi version and $499 for the 3G version. The Series 5 has got a 12.1-inch screen with 1280×800 resolution, an overall weight of 3.26 lbs, and an improved trackpad, which was the downfall of the Google CR-48. Battery life is supposed to be 8.5 hours. The Acer model is cheaper, starting at $349, but has a 6.5-hour battery life and an 11.6-inch screen.