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Google ‘student package’ to offer Chrome laptops for $20 per month

Cr-48Back in December, we got a glimpse of Google‘s Cr-48 notebook, powered by the company’s nothing-but-Internet Chrome OS. It wasn’t widely released, but the notebook made its way into the hands of enough knowledgeable people to psych people up for Google’s entry into the hardware space. Now there’s word that the company will today be announcing a “student package” plan, offering a Chrome laptop — presumably the Cr-48 or something similar — as part of a $20-per-month purchase plan.

The report comes from no less a reliable source than Forbes, which cites an unnamed “senior Google executive.” It is believed that this deal, which will presumably be revealed at today’s Google I/O keynote, is the test run for a more full-featured business offering. Forbes speculates that a package could be sold to professionals which sweetens the purchase of Google Apps, the company’s Microsoft Office-like suite of productivity tools that currently sells for $50 per year, with a Chrome OS laptop. Google Apps offers the advantage of cloud-based storage.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are banging on our doors to get something like this,” Forbes’ source said, further suggesting that the rumored (for now) “student package” is a test run. You have to respect the forethought here; give students access to a cheap, Internet-connected laptop and then, when they enter the professional world, they’ll already be well-versed in using Chrome OS for work purposes. The problem with anything cloud-related, of course, is the inability to work with saved content when no Internet connection is available. The Google source tells Forbes that a solution is very close to being cracked.

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