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Google Details Its Chromebook Subscriptions

By - Source: Engadget | B 24 comments

Google this week announced an interesting deal for students and businesses looking at its new Chromebooks as computing options.

By now you’ve probably heard about Google's new Chromebooks. Manufactured by Samsung and Acer, they’ll cost you between $349 and $499 to buy upfront. However, Google also revealed that it will offer Chromebooks to schools and businesses on a subscription basis. The cost for a Chromebook subscription is priced at as little as $20/month for students and $28/month for business users.

This monthly subscription includes free software and hardware upgrades, as well as administrative support. The annual cost of such a program works out at $240 per student or $336 per business user. However, Google is also insisting on a three-year minimum contract for businesses and educational institutes availing of this deal, which drives the total cost for a three-year subscription to $1,008 per computer for businesses and $720 per computer for educational institutions. What's more, Google says a customer that wants out of the three-year deal must "pay out the rest of their contract." There's also a minimum of 10 computers per company/school, though it would appear there is no limit on the number of consumers.

Of course, as is the case with buying up front, going for the 3G option is more expensive, with the price jumping from $20/month to $23/month for schools purchasing the 3G version of either the Acer Chromebook or the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. Enterprise customers purchasing the 3G Acer Chromebook will see the price jump from $28/month to $31/month, while the WiFi version of Samsung's Chromebook costs $30/month and the 3G model costs $33/month. Schools and business selecting the 3G models will get 100MB of free data per month.

Specs for the laptops announced this week are as follows:

Acer Chromebook

  • 11.6" HD Widescreen CineCrystalTM LED-backlit LCD
  • 2.95 lbs. | 1.34 kg.
  • 6 hours of continuous usage
  • Intel® AtomTM Dual-Core Processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • High-Definition Audio Support
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • HDMI port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook

  • 12.1" (1280x800) 300 nit Display
  • 3.26 lbs / 1.48 kg
  • 8.5 hours of continuous usage 1
  • Intel® AtomTM Dual-Core Processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • Mini-VGA port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad

Both of these computers will be up for preorder on June 15.

Display 24 Comments.
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  • 0 Hide
    acadia11 , May 12, 2011 6:09 PM
    Screw off google, do all evil!!!! Where is the new kid on the block?
  • 0 Hide
    irish_adam , May 12, 2011 6:21 PM
    I think its a great idea for students that cant afford to pay upfront for a laptop, as a uni student i def see a use for the subsciption. I have a PC for my uni work at home but for note taking and research while at uni it would be a great tool to have thats pretty cheap
  • -1 Hide
    dread_cthulhu , May 12, 2011 6:25 PM
    Honestly... This would probably make a great textbook replacement. Give every kid a laptop, teach em how to use it day one, and lock it down so they can't screw it up. We pay enough in taxes, and schools could use their massive textbook budgets to grab a number of these babies. Of course, I'm not an educator, so I really don't know how the actual numbers would add up, or if they'd come out cheaper this way, but still... neat idea.
  • 2 Hide
    kinggraves , May 12, 2011 6:30 PM
    See, here's my problem with Google's logic. Part of the fee involves service, support, and upgrades. Now, if I terminate the contract, I'm not getting 3 years of service, support, and upgrades, so why would I have to pay the FULL contract? Even at the maximum, the termination fee should involve the price of the machine + the service received thus far, minus what's already been paid.

    Now, I'll admit that these contracts are for businesses and education, and part of the contract for businesses requires a minimum purchase of 10, so this contract is for major establishments who can likely commit to the machines for 3 years. Still, the price seems to be insane for a machine that will be outdated sooner than the first year. Google used to be the good guy, but with every step they take, they seem to be getting closer to a worse corporate entity than MS or Apple. I have a feeling that contract will draw the attention of the feds into their business practices.
  • 3 Hide
    stm1185 , May 12, 2011 6:39 PM
    I pity the people forced to use one of those pieces of crap for 3 years because their employer was cheap.

    Atom cpu and an OS that is just a web browser. Those poor bastards!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 6:43 PM
    What do you get with the "free software and hardware upgrades" what is are we calling hardware? is it that i get a new laptop every year then I am cool with the cost.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 6:50 PM
    My company was apart of the pilot program. They were used in our sales department and I have to say everyone loved it. Sure not all of our departments could use it for everything , but considering our CRM and email are all web based it really was helpful. Now I am not happy about the price. I think that price is a little high. Not if they also included the free that most businesses pay to use google apps (50 bucks a year) then maybe. I personally own one of the originals and I can honestly say I use it more that my regular laptop.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 6:53 PM
    this is by far one of the worst products to come out in recent memory, cost more and does less than even the cheapest pc's out there, it looks like Google is catering to Americas "Stupid" Demographic with this one.
  • 0 Hide
    reggieray , May 12, 2011 7:51 PM
    Google who is in bed with the Obozo regime can take their new laptop[ scheme and stick it. Keep all the files in the cloud so they can see your stuff when ever they want. Not that I have to hide anything, it's the principle of the matter.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 8:55 PM
    The screen is too small, Atom and especially it's graphics are too weak to adequately do tasks such as Flash, video and Javascript, or 3D even if the cloud is doing the heavy lifting. For just a little more, you can get a real laptop and some el cheapo cable internet for 3 years.
  • 3 Hide
    eddieroolz , May 13, 2011 1:08 AM
    Yeah, if I'm going to pay $1008 over 3 years for having a laptop that can do nothing but use the "cloud" then I'd rather spring for a $600 laptop with discrete graphics that can actually do something useful. The other $400 can go towards a nice camera or whatever.
  • 0 Hide
    jaksun5 , May 13, 2011 2:41 AM
    kinggravesSee, here's my problem with Google's logic. Part of the fee involves service, support, and upgrades. Now, if I terminate the contract, I'm not getting 3 years of service, support, and upgrades, so why would I have to pay the FULL contract? Even at the maximum, the termination fee should involve the price of the machine + the service received thus far, minus what's already been paid.Now, I'll admit that these contracts are for businesses and education, and part of the contract for businesses requires a minimum purchase of 10, so this contract is for major establishments who can likely commit to the machines for 3 years.


    I think in the case of businesses and education institutions the idea is to buy a 'fleet' of these for students/employees and then farm out each one to each employee/student, get the to pay the monthly fee either directly or charge it on, and then when a student/employee leaves they just give it back. UTS in Sydney, Australia already loans out notebooks, so here people will be able to have their 'own' and be covered if anything goes wrong. With 1000's of students there's always going to be someone to take it up if someone else gives one back. This model is already almost the preferred in industry, where people pay big monthly fees or $100 or more just for the notebook with added warranty. $28 in comparison is cheap, remember parts are made in China but services sometime need expensive western world labour.

    Also google is probably just being a bit lazy by not giving people to many options. The last thing I'd want personally is a the scheme to get as complicated as the mobile phone industry is. Those complications are there to confuse people into not knowing what a good deal is and buying based on marketing BS. Keep in mind that we're the i1337 on this site and it's not really aimed at us necessarily, there are heaps of humanities students that don't want to know about the ins and outs.

    And if you want a plain old laptop without a contract, who's stopping you? That's the system we've lived with for years. The fact of the matter is that this is the first time I can get any sort of notebook that comes with the software one might need for an up front cost of a mobile phone. Well done to Google for trying something different, and if it all tanks thanks for putting up the few million dollars to try (much better than the money going to booze and hooker like it does on Wall Street)
  • 2 Hide
    gamoniac , May 13, 2011 4:45 AM
    All look pretty good... but wow, a whole 100MB of data a month? Seriously, this is 2011. My Android mobile phone burnt 40MB a month doing nothing but sync'ing mail and news feed. 100MB will be used up in, optimistically, half a day. What a rip off, Google.
  • 0 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , May 13, 2011 5:01 AM
    The laptops are meaningless for business or education. What they care about is the service. This deal is more like a the package Novel use to do, or what Red Hat does. education and business don't want to do any IT themselfs, they want to pay $20 a month and simplify their lifes. I know because the University where I work has a few $40,000 a year employees just dedicated to making sure their Mac books and Laptops keep running. It is funny how quickly a laptop can develop its own personality.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 13, 2011 6:04 AM
    Nothing wrong with laptop rental. What is wrong here is Google is asking a lot of money for a piece of machine and OS which is new and unproven in the field in terms of usefulness. Consider that a Windows 7 laptop can be bought for far less cost, there is minimal reason to go with such a subscription services. This venture is dead before it even takes off. If they really want to see any takeup on this thing, they should just offer a 3 years contract with maybe 1 dollar extra each month, just to appease the manufacturer Samsung and Acer. Then people might be interested and see how these things work.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 13, 2011 7:52 AM
    LOL, If this post related to Facebook wanting to smear Google, than I think it's working wonderfully!
  • 2 Hide
    afrobacon , May 13, 2011 3:18 PM
    I've been playing around with the CR-48 for some time now, and I've been telling people that when these things hit the market their going to be cheap, reliable, and worth every penny. It seems I was wrong. So much for upgrading to a newer Chromebook; this whole venture is DOA now as far as I'm concerned.
  • -1 Hide
    tidex , May 13, 2011 4:16 PM
    My only problem is that 100 MB cap. Just watching youtube frequently would use that up in a week or less.

    Outside of that it has very impressive hardware for the price. I know I know ChromeOS isn't exactly powerful and it may not interest you guys but you can just slap linux on there as soon as you get it. Its a great netbook for $240 so why the hell not?

    If you're looking for a cheap, light, netbook to carry around, its the best value for the price. at least in my opinion.

    otherwise just get a thinkpad or something.
  • 0 Hide
    11796pcs , May 13, 2011 5:00 PM
    tidex: I believe the article says that if schhols/businesses pick the 3G option they will get 100 MB per month free before they have to start paying for the bandwidth they're using.

    The Chrome notebooks are still pathetic though.
  • 0 Hide
    cobra5000 , May 13, 2011 8:06 PM
    ReggieRayGoogle who is in bed with the Obozo regime can take their new laptop[ scheme and stick it. Keep all the files in the cloud so they can see your stuff when ever they want. Not that I have to hide anything, it's the principle of the matter.

    Please, say one more stupid thing, I know you cant help yourself.
    Not that you have anything to hide...
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