Google offers new Chromebook subscription option

Google has tweaked its Chromebook subscription model to allow businesses and educational establishments to buy the web-centric notebooks upfront.When the company launched its Chromebooks for businesses and schools four months ago, it offered a three-year subscription model.

Google has tweaked its Chromebook subscription model to allow businesses and educational establishments to buy the web-centric notebooks upfront.

When the company launched its Chromebooks for businesses and schools four months ago, it offered a three-year subscription model. However, according to a blog post on Friday from product manager Glenn Wilson, some prospective customers pointed out to Google that they work with yearly budget cycles, making the three-year option less viable.

Wilson said Google was introducing "an alternative payment option" in response to this feedback.

"This new option gives schools and businesses a choice to pay upfront for Chromebooks with one year of access to the web-based admin management console, phone support, and hardware warranty coverage," Wilson said. "After the first year, customers can choose to pay a monthly fee for years two and three for management console access and support."

For educational customers, the upfront fee will be $449 (£281) for the Wi-Fi-only Chromebook and $519 for the 3G-enabled version. In the second and third years, management and support then cost $5 per month.

Business customers will pay a bit more — $559 upfront for Wi-Fi and $639 for 3G, with the monthly fee in years two and three coming in at $13.

"We have also added a few new features to the web-based management panel to help customers better deploy, monitor and customise their Chromebooks, including group policy management, shipment tracking and asset management," Wilson added.