By Richi Jennings. April 21, 2011.
It seems that Google (GOOG) is planning to offer Chrome OS notebooks on a subscription basis. Rumor has it that $10-$20 per month will get you something like the Cr-48 beta laptop, including free upgrades and repairs. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers have their heads in the cloud.
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Steven Parker and Marcel Klum claim an exclusive:
We can now confirm from a reliable source that ... Chrome OS based notebooks will be available ... in late June/early July. ... Google will be selling the devices as part of a subscription based model. ... It's not clear if this applies to mainstream ... users, or to Google Apps premier customers.
...Google plans to make the notebooks available for $10-$20 a month ... will provide hardware refreshes as they are released ... and will replace faulty hardware for the life of the subscription. ... Google will [also] make the devices available for a one time payment ... in a fashion similar to the way Android is distributed.
Emil Protalinski adds:
Chrome OS will only ship on specific hardware following deals struck between Google and the manufacturers. Chromium OS ... will be available as a disk image so that enthusiasts can put Chrome OS on any machine.
...Chrome OS differentiates itself from Android by targeting devices with physical keyboards. Google's thinking is ... building an OS that is essentially a browser will make computers faster, simpler, and more secure.
Chris Meadows analogizes:
This essentially treats notebooks like a cable modem ... leased from the cable company as part of your monthly fee in return for replacing it if anything goes wrong.I wonder if [it] will involve a minimum contract length? ... It would be interesting to try the device out for a month or two ... even if I didnt want to keep it for the long term.
Daniel Cawrey likes it:
The idea of potential customers being able to get their own Chrome OS hardware for cheap upfront is a great strategy for attracting users. ... With customers paying for a subscription that could possibly come with wireless service included, Google would be able to ... obtain a ton of data about how to improve the operating system.
Meanwhile, David Gonzales knows what's awesome:
If that isnt awesome, I dont know what is.
[hat tip: Jason Scott]
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's also the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld, plus The Long View. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: email@example.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.