Neowin, this plan, part of an effort to get more people using its services and viewing its ads online, was confirmed by an unnamed source.As soon as this summer, Google could announce a program to rent Chrome OS portable computers for $10 to $20 per month. According to a report on the generally reputable tech blog
In response to our request for comment, Google told us the same thing it told the U.K. Register yesterday: "We don't have anything to share at this time." This, then, is just a rumor; but I think it's a very thought-provoking one. What would it mean for a consumer cloud computing interface to be available dirt cheap, largely ad-supported and as a rental?
Neowin says: "Google will be selling the devices as part of a subscription based model with Gmail to customers...According to our source, Google... will provide hardware refreshes as they are released as part of the package, and will replace faulty hardware for the life of the subscription. On top of this, Google... is likely to not distribute the devices directly. Instead, the company will distribute them in a fashion similar to the way Android is distributed."
Would such a move democratize access to Web-based computing all the more? Would it change the fundamental nature of our relationships with our computers? (See the conversation below for more thoughts raised by readers.) If there's truth to this rumor, we could hear confirmation of the plans next month at the Google I/O conference.
I wrote about a review unit Google sent out in December and said I loved its speed but hated the terrible CR-48 hardware it was shipped on, specifically the trackpad. If that could be fixed, and if the Google Ads were not too intrusive, I can see a lot of people renting such a device.