Google now lets companies rent Chromebooks for $30 per month and Chromeboxes for $25 per month. There are no long-term contracts to sign and rentals are always month-to-month (with the monthly price dropping steadily after the first twelve months). To offer this service, Google has partnered with CIT, a company that provides financing and leasing capital to small and medium businesses. Google calls this program a “trial” and prospective renters have to fill out a credit application with CIT to qualify.
“Imagine you’re setting up shop for a local political campaign and will have an influx of new, temporary workers,” says Google. “You can rent a Chromebook for each worker for the next few months, and return them when the campaign is over.” The rental also includes a 3-year limited warranty, the web-based Chrome management console and 24/7 support. Starting today, Google Apps customers can also order up to 10 Chromebooks directly from Google.
The cheapest Chromebook, the Samsung Series 5, currently sells for around $349. Users who want built-in 3G connectivity and a faster processor have to pay $599 for a Series 5 550, though. The Mac Mini-like Chromebox retails for $329.
It’s hard to say how successful Google’s Chromebooks and Chromebox programs are, but the company is definitely putting a lot of its marketing power behind these browser-centric laptops and desktops. From what we hear, the devices are especially successful in schools, where many teachers prefer them over tablets (the students, though, probably don’t quite agree with this assesment). Earlier this year, Google also started selling Chromebooks at about 100 U.S. BestBuy stores.
In its announcement today, Google notes that the School of Rock now user Chromebooks in its 90 locations and that the City of Palo Alto library system now allows its patrons to check out Chromebooks for a week.