Yesterday’s Google announcement about Chromebooks still looks like a game changer this morning. Even with more to learn about what this will mean I think that will still hold but some questions are emerging even as we pick up more info. Details about the Chromebook pricing are becoming clearer. Engadget has a report on some of the info and here’s a quick recap.
The subscription model for education ($20 a month) and enterprise ($28 a month) is a real deal, but it comes with a 3 year contract that has no early termination clause. Google went with three years because that still seems to be the norm for most institutional purchasing. The subscription fee will net you the Chromebook, support, warranty, and updates for the life of the contract. Note that the deal only works for education and enterprise purchasers who are going for a minimum of 10 devices. So, if you’re looking at using your student ID to get one of these, it will depend on your institution’s desire to play the game. Otherwise you’ll be purchasing from Samsung or Acer (the first two makers of these devices ranging from $349 to $499).
These Chromebooks are WiFi only, but for $3 a month more you can add a 3G radio from Verizon with a 100MB cap.
All of this sort of makes sense on a dollars and sense level, but this is going to require quite a sales job on Google’s part to get this rolling. Essentially Google is asking institutions to take a three year gamble on an untested platform. Will they bite? We’ll find out soon enough.