Google to Rent Laptops to Students

Lower the price point, pack it with products, target starving students and Google may well be about to implement a genius extension of its laptop -- and overall -- businesses.

Renting Chrome laptops to students for $20 a month is to be announced today at the I/O conference in San Francisco, according to This expands distribution, it plants seeds of future dependence, er, consumption of Google products and, pointed out by Forbes, could be a pilot program for later application with small- and medium-sized businesses. speculates on the lappies' specs:

The Chrome laptops will likely feature the same mobile broadband capabilities as the CR-48. That computer shipped with built-in 3G access and included 100 megabytes of monthly internet free for two years. You could also opt for daily unlimited internet for $10, 1 gigabyte of mobile internet for $20 a month, 3 GB for $35 a month, and 5 GB for $50 a month.

With Google Apps (akin to Microsoft Office) employers can track and guide employees during their internet, workday grazing. But until Google Apps adds something like Instapaper, working offline (something students will want more of) will be problematic.

Either way, lowering the price and raising access to computing power and easy interface is definitely not evil. Good business? Surely. Too often, the two sentiments are distinctions without a difference.

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