New Chromebook pricing scale targets businesses, schools

Google aims to expand its Chromebook reach into schools and businesses with a new pricing scale.

Google has been touting Chromebooks as a budget-friendly computer upgrade option for schools and businesses, mainly because of the price and how simple they are to use.

Now the Goog is aiming to deliver more of its Chrome OS-based netbooks to these customer bases with new subscription-based, alternative payment plans.

Glenn Wilson, product manager for Chrome for business and education, explained on the Google Enterprise blog that customers are "embracing this new way of computing," but are sometimes hindered by yearly budget cycles. So these new options give customers more of a choice while being able to sign up for product support.

Here's how the new pricing structure breaks down:

Education:

  • First year (upfront): $449 (Wi-Fi only), $519 (3G)
  • Following two to three years: $5 per month per Chromebook for management and support

Business:

  • First year (upfront): $559 (Wi-Fi only), $639 (3G)
  • Following two to three years: $13 per month per Chromebook for management and support

That extra monthly package (which is included in the starting price for the first year) includes a web-based administrator management console, phone support, and hardware warranty coverage.

For reference, Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung retail between $349.99 and $499.99 on their own without this support.

Google has been working on a number of different ways to get Chromebooks into the hands of consumer and enterprise PC users since the ultra low-featured notebooks debuted at Google I/O in May. For example, flyers on Virgin America between select cities can rent Chromebooks for their flights for free, which will go nicely with the Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi -- although network access does come with a fee.

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