$20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

$20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

Summary: Students will be able to buy a contract for a $20/month Google Chrome laptop. More is expected to be announced at the Google I/O conference.

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While businesses will have the offer of integrated Google Chrome hardware and software at $50 per month, students will be able to have theirs for under half the price, a senior Google executive said.

$20 a month is very little for those who are less economically viable, or for many who simply want a dedicated device for their academic work. It will allow many students to simply switch off when they are not using their Chrome laptop.

Many students will already have Google Apps for Education in their university environment, though many more will be with Microsoft's Live@edu service.

There are two concerns of mine, however.

Could Google be 'pulling a Microsoft' by sending out these cheap devices to students first, in a bid to gauge reaction? Secondly, with the worries over the USA PATRIOT Act and the contracts made between non-US customers directly with a US company, suggests that all the data flowing in and out of the device could be open to US inspection.

It also isn't clear yet whether students will be able to purchase the device flat out, or be tied into a monthly contract with Google. I suspect this will be the major drawback if it is any longer than six months to a year.

Yet the one drawback with cloud based products is the wireless blackspots when users are not connected to the Internet. Google says it is "very close to solving that problem", but one might want to wait until they do before they fork out for something that may not suit students' lifestyles.

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Topics: Browser, CXO, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, IT Employment

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51 comments
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  • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

    I will have to see what they announce today, but assuming the $20 gets 100 MB / month and the hardware is comparable to the CR-48 then only students unfamiliar with math would make this purchase.

    How long would it take to exhaust the 100 MB? Less than a Netflix movie or a few YouTube videos. With my current Verizon phone plan tethering 5 devices (not 1) costs $20 / month for 2 GB. That's about $1 / 100 MB.

    Assuming a 2-year contract (like most wireless contracts) the price of the CR-48 then comes out to about $480. There are several machines that not-only work offline but will also work with Google Docs for less than $500. Most of them have better specs than the CR-48. They will also be able to use the wifi prevalent on campuses and coffee shops to connect.

    Like I said, we'll have to see what they announce today, but if this is close to true, save your money. Only Google fanatics will be able to rationalize how this is somehow a great bargain.
    Rich Miles
    • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

      @Rich Miles
      I'm no math major but why not just buy and iPad and use free google apps and gmail? thinner, lighter and probably faster than a netbook...
      Hasam1991
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @Hasam1991
        You really going to type a 10 page paper on an iPad?
        pllamonica@...
      • Oh, really?

        @Hasam1991

        An iPad is much more expensive than a Chrome device (which by the way has an *open source* OS) and also has a very crippled OS that cannot run regular Mac apps. Sorry, not for me; you can push that oversized iPhone with no global menu, no window manager, and very minimal multitasking support on me all you want and it won't make a difference.

        A Chrome device:

        * _has_ offline support (in the form of packaged apps; see http://kenny-strawn.blogspot.com/2011/05/some-chrome-os-apps-are-packaged-into.html)
        * _has_ true multitasking (i.e. tabbed browsing, including tabs for Web apps and packaged apps that you can pin)
        * _has_ window management (even though it may not be full), so that you don't have to press the home button to switch apps.

        So there.
        Kenny Strawn
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @Hasam1991
        Putting OS wars aside, what student on a budget is going to spend $550 on a slab that overheats in the sun, cannot use flash and has no keyboard for any kind of long-term typing? Boy, get your fanboyism in check. An iPad is for people who either love Apple products or... or... Nope that's about it. Fun to use, doesn't justify its price. Don't go recommending such hardware to students on heavy budgets please.
        D2 Ultima
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @Hasam1991 - not faster than a netbook. And more expensive. I'm not saying ipads in their second generation can't be adapted for heavier use, but there are a lot of netbooks out there that steal the show for less money.
        airforcejim7
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @Hasam1991
        Must be nice owning both a laptop AND an iPad. Let me guess, Mac Book Air.

        On an unrelated note, I had a contractor come in one day to give me a bid and he had both a laptop and an iPad. He didn't get the job because his price was too high. I wonder if he was factoring in the cost of all his toys...
        cwallen19803@...
    • University takes 4 years

      @Rich Miles

      That makes it about a grand. Thanks, but no thanks. I'd buy an 11+" ultra-portable for around $4-500 plus some SW and use free services where I could. I could then run anything I wanted on it, and it would still be mine when I graduated.
      Economister
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @Economister
        Anyone writing a 10 page paper will use MS WORD LOL... Windows will not go away at the dorm... iPad would be for convenience, in classroom, while eating lunch etc
        Hasam1991
  • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

    just cant see a web only machine being viable. Yes, wireless access is more prevalent than before, but more and more places are locking down their wifi, so you still cant access the web. Thus making it a nice paperweight in your room.
    tiderulz
    • With native client, and offline web applications, it will be a lot more

      than a "web only machine". Wait and see.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @DonnieBoy
        then it wouldnt be what it has been billed as. That would sound a awful lot like a normal laptop
        tiderulz
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @DonnieBoy

        If they want native, a more intelligent approach would be an Android laptop running a highly optimized version of Chrome.
        Rich Miles
      • ChromeOS just might include the Dalvik runtime, but, that won't run C/C++,

        code. I see a place for both Dalvik and Native Client. ChromeOS and Android will probably share more code as time goes on. For now, Android is for touch and smaller screens; ChromeOS is for larger screens with mouse and keyboard.
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @tiderulz Good point, at that point what do you have? At this stage (things are changing) you have a localized web App with a mediocre - at best - interface. I just don't see the market with so many slicker options out there from Linux to ms to Mac
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

      @tiderulz

      Agreed,

      products like the Atrix are the future.
      Alan Smithie
    • *NOT* a Web-only machine!

      @tiderulz

      Again, see this:

      http://kenny-strawn.blogspot.com/2011/05/some-chrome-os-apps-are-packaged-into.html

      Just because the user interface of Chrome OS may only consist of a browser does *NOT* mean it doesn't have offline app support. That borders on prejudice.
      Kenny Strawn
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @Kenny Strawn
        if the machine has apps and will run without a network connection, then i dont have as much complaint. That said, reading a blog, by you, isnt exactly compelling evidence. especially one where you call people idiots.
        tiderulz
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @tiderulz - LOL - ouch!
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: $20 a month 'student' Google Chrome laptop to be announced today?

        @tiderulez Who killed Kenny (Strawn's credibility)? Apparently his calling people idiots in his blog did....

        :)
        ejhonda