Google has been releasing one new barrage after another against Apple on the mobile front with new ‘flavors’ of their Android OS, such as Honeycomb and, I kid you not, Ice Cream Sandwich. They’ve also announced that we will soon be able to plug USB devices into tablets.
But what blew me away completely was Google’s announcement of their business-minded Chromebook. Google will rent you a basic netbook made by Acer or Samsung for around $20 a month that runs their new cloud-based Chrome OS. The kicker for me? For that $20 a month, you get the laptop, access to online storage, Google documents, Gmail, and complete technical support. Google will fix it if it breaks and the computer will even update its software via the cloud so that they are always up to date and secure.
This is a shot across the bow at Microsoft who is in the business of selling expensive, individual packages of software that you have to support. Google gives you the computer and the software for a low monthly fee. Basically, Microsoft is the video store that sells you DVDs and Google is trying to be Netflix, giving you a subscription to your computer.
Would I personally do this? Probably not, but for institutions like schools that only need computers do perform basic and increasingly cloud-based tasks, I have to say it sounds interesting. Doing the math it would cost about $240 a year to provide a student with a netbook, storage, software and support. That is a really tempting price for schools, all things considered. Will Google prevail, or will Microsoft? Maybe Microsoft should ask Blockbuster how business has been lately…