Starting on June 15th, Google will begin offering subscription-based packages for students and for businesses. For a monthly fee you’ll get a Chromebook laptop running Google Chrome OS, as well as ongoing software support, a warranty, and even replacements for obsolete hardware.

The business package will run $28 per month per user, while the education package will be available at a lower $20 per month fee — as we learned this morning.

Update: Engadget reports that the subscription price will be higher for 3G capable models, and that customers will have to sign up for a 3-year contract and business customers will need to rent at least 10 units to qualify.

One of the biggest questions I had when news about the subscription service leaked was whether it made sense to pay to essentially rent a laptop for several years instead of purchasing one outright. But the hardware replacement component of Google’s plan makes the idea look a whole lot more appealing — you know, assuming you actually think the only program you need to run on your computer is a web browser.

Google is making a more and more compelling case for the browser as a central focus for computing though, with the expansion of the Chrome Web Store, support for in-app payments, improved performance, and the addition of offline access for a number of key applications including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. Offline capabilities will be available for those three apps this summer.

Customers will be able to purchase Chromebooks for business and education directly from Google in the US, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy starting on June 15th.

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2 replies on “Google unveils subscription-based Chromebooks for business, education”

  1. I think you may have been thinking a bit too much…. it is only a laptop!

  2. Any student of history will be reminded of this: “the industrial revolution thus separated society, roughly speaking, into two classes: those who own the machines and those who operate them….”

    In the future, I hope to have no ownership rights to anything I need. Rather, I hope to be dependent on others. However, I do not want to be dependent on their generosity or respect for our mutual benefit to one another. Rather, I want to be dependent on them for all of my needs through a medium of exchange, over which I have no control of the value because I neither print money nor loan it. More importantly, I want my dependence on others to perpetually drain me of whatever stockpile of this currency I have such that I am continually pressured to perform tasks at the demand of those who do own all of the actual resources which I am continually re-leasing. I know it sounds morose because if you ignore what looks like money then it just sounds like slavery, but that’s the beauty of it. Because I’ll have nothing, I’ll have nothing left to lose. Now, that’s freedom. Thank you Google, for freeing me.

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