Google I/O Day Two Keynote is set to begin at 9:30 here at the San Francisco’s Moscone West. Yesterday’s was all about Android and today we will learn what’s in store for the Chrome browser and the Chrome operating system for notebooks. According to Forbes, Google will announce a $20 a month hardware subscription option for Chrome OS notebooks.
Instead of dropping a couple of hundred dollars upfront, you’ll be able to get a free Chrome OS machine as long as you continue paying twenty bucks a month to Google. The offering will include both the hardware and the accompanying cloud services and will be targeted at students, a Google source told the publication. That could put Apple, the leader in education, in an uneasy position. The Forbes piece says nothing about hardware refresh cycles or a possible 3G/4G connection bundle.
The same person also suggested Google could at some point offer subscription-based computers to corporations. Conceivably, that would be a major opportunity for Google to tie subscription-based hardware with their Google Apps for Business service (priced annually at $50 a seat). Such an offering could easily shatter Microsoft’s position with business users.
Past rumors also made passing mentions of inexpensive Chrome OS notebooks. We also learned that Chrome OS notebooks are in the works by Acer, Samsung and others. A rumored Samsung machine code-named “Alex” is said to sport a ten-inch display at 1280-by-800 pixel resolution, a 1.5GHz dual-core Intel Atom N550 CPU, a Synaptics touchpad, a webcam, Bluetooth and a Qualcomm Gobi 2000 3G cellular connectivity.