Virgin Air

Google has announced a new way to get your hands on a Chromebook without paying for it. The company has partnered with Virgin America to allow customers to borrow laptops running Chrome OS for free on flights originating in San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare airport, Dallas/Fort Worth, or Boston.

Passengers that check out a Chromebook will be able to surf the web in the air using free WiFi.

Google has also teamed up with Ace Hotel in New York City to put a Chromebook in each room. The laptops will connect to the hotel’s WiFi for use around the building — but you can also use the laptop away from the hotel thanks to built-in 3G.

There’s no word on how Google plans to prevent people from sticking the Chromebook into their bags along with stolen towels and soap when they check out of the hotel — but I suspect the company can remotely disable the machines.

Chromebooks will be available from Virgin Air and Ace Hotel New York all summer starting July 1st.

You can find out more about the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook in my review of the first Chrome OS laptop.

Update: Virgin Air has announced some more details about the “Chrome Zone” program. The program will run from July 1st through September 30th. As you’d expect, the airline will require you to turn in the Chromebook when you depart the plane. The company is also running a contest to give away prizes including a Chromebook.

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2 replies on “Virgin America, Ace Hotel to offer free Chromebook loans”

    1. While this is probably just a push to expose more people to Chromebooks, I actually kind of like this model. I could see Chromebooks being much more useful when you treat them like portable internet kiosks in this manner and I wouldn’t mind seeing more airlines and hotels sign on. 

      If you’re flying without your own laptop or visiting a hotel without one, odds are you don’t need to edit documents or run native apps. But you might want to check your email, read Facebook updates, or look up walking directions to that restaurant you liked last time you were in NYC…

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