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Rumors are circulating that Google is making plans to sell Chrome OS devices using a pay-by-the month plan at a range of $10-20 per month as a subscription service. The plan will then provide users with hardware refreshes over a set lifecycle for each device. It’s unknown if this will be bundled with some sort of software service as well such as the long-awaited Google Music.
The company still plans on selling Chrome OS hardware using the traditional model of paying upfront, but the idea of potential customers being able to get their own Chrome OS hardware for cheap upfront is a great strategy for attracting users. Many have speculated that pricing will be the most important factor for Chrome OS adoption. Pairing Chrome OS with a paid service and perhaps offering vouchers for some paid Chrome Web Store applications would also be an ideal solution since the platform is entirely web-based and will rely on web applications.
There are both positives and negatives to this approach. With customers paying for a subscription that could possibly come with wireless service included, Google would be able to easily ramp up in terms of Chrome OS users and would be able to obtain a ton of data about how to improve the operating system. On the flip side, they will have to incur initial hardware expenses and coordinate billing and contracts that would be associated with a model like this.
Chrome OS is still slated to be released mid-year according to Google. That means we could see commercial devices coming in June or perhaps July, with a release date likely set during the Google I/O keynotes in May. Manufactures have been said to be planning to ship over one million devices this year.
How do you feel about subscription-based Chrome OS hardware?