Students too broke to afford a regular PC might have an interesting option when the first Chrome OS laptop debuts, according to Forbes blogger Quentin Hardy. Quoting an anonymous "senior Google executive," Hardy says the machine will be available as part of a $20-a-month "student package" that "combines both hardware and online services." He adds that Google might make an official announcement today.
The blogger doesn't quote a price or term length for the system, so it's hard to tell just how good a deal we're looking at here. With $20 monthly payments, you'd take a whole year to pay off a bottom-of-the-barrel, $240 netbook—and that's without interest or paid services thrown in the mix. I wouldn't be surprised if Google asked students to keep dragging the ball and chain for a few extra months.
Interestingly, Hardy adds that the service will be a "precursor" to a business offering. For example, Google might chuck in a laptop with its Google Apps for Business package, which is currently priced at $50 per user account per year, for a little bit of extra dough. Hardy quotes the anonymous Google executive as saying, "Small and medium-sized businesses are banging on our doors to get something like this." (Thanks to Engadget for the link.)