Chrome OS Notebooks: By Subscription?

By  |  Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 8:08 am

Cr-48 notebookNeowin reports an intriguing rumor: When the first batch of Google’s Chrome OS notebooks launch in June or July, customers will be able to lease them for $10 to $20 per month.

The Chrome OS subscription, as Neowin calls it, would entitle the user to free hardware upgrades, as well as replacement units if anything goes wrong. Full-priced laptops would also be available, and the Chrome OS notebooks would reportedly be distributed “in a fashion similar to the way Android is distributed,”¬†which I assume means through wireless carriers and retail stores.

Neowin’s report is based on a single, unnamed source, and it’s wacky enough to consider with an ounce of skepticism. But it’s also rather plausible.

The strength of Chrome OS, an entirely web-based operating system, is its hardware independence. If something goes wrong, or the user decides to get a new computer, Chrome OS allows the user to replace hardware without having to transfer data. A subscription model would encourage that behavior. Also, remember that Verizon plans to give each Chrome OS user 100 MB of monthly data to play with. A subscription model would keep some revenue flowing into the carrier’s pockets, and make upgrading to a bigger data plan easier.

A leased laptop would also help answer one of the biggest questions dogging Chrome OS: Why would you use it instead of another operating system with Chrome installed? Getting a laptop for the cost of dinner at Applebee’s could be quite the lure.

Still, this rumor raises a few questions of its own: Would the leased laptop require a long-term contract? If not, would it become a brick if the user stopped paying? What would happen if the user wanted to trade in for a different screen size (or tablet)? Would the notebooks be new, or would it be possible to end up with a pre-owned machine? And what happened to that rumor about a $250 Chrome OS notebook from Asus?

The answers can’t be more than a couple months away. If there’s anything to this rumor, it’ll be a pretty big deal.

 
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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Brian Smith Says:

    If Chrome OS were put into a netbook (not notebook) or tablet form factor, I’d be more interested. You know… make the physical form of the device reflect the relative size of the OS (quite small, considering it’s just a browser).

  2. Mike Cerm Says:

    Man, this Chrome OS thing keeps sounding worse and worse. Not only is the OS crappy (yes, I've used it), but now they want to make you pay a monthly fee? Terrible. Google needs to just abandon this whole project.

  3. Eric Says:

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  6. Kindle in Color Says:

    I was planning to use Chrome OS, but thanks to this thread, will hold off until it becomes more stable.

  7. Honey Chicken Recipe Says:

    The chrome OS is pretty stable. I actually have it installed in my laptop.

  8. Houston Pools Says:

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