On Thursday, Google will announce the sale of its Chrome laptop in a $20 per month deal targeted at students, according to Forbes. The package will include both hardware and software services, said a Google exec. The product is likely a precursor to a more business-oriented offering: “Small and medium-sized businesses are banging on our doors to get something like this,” the exec said.
Google Apps, which is similar to Microsoft Office and offers online word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software, is sold to businesses for $50 a year, and Forbes says that an inexpensive Chrome laptop could easily be added to the deal, just like discounted cell phones are sold with wireless plans. Google’s testing the package on students not only gages possibilities for a future workplace-targeted product, but if successful, would also train the students to expect cloud-based systems as they move into the professional arena.
One of the package’s benefits would be the greater control it offers businesses over what employees do online. But the browser-based Google Apps faces difficulties in its ability (or lack thereof) to work offline when disconnected from the Internet. However, Google execs involved with the product said that they’re close to fixing that issue.