Much has already been made about Google's business and subscription plans for its Chromebook, and so far the details have raised more questions than answers. How long are the contracts good for, and are there are any other requirements or strings attached? What's included, and what's not included? A handful of Google executives took the time to answer these questions and clarify how its Chromebook subscription model works.
According to Engadget, business and educational institutions that take advantage of a subscription plan are bound by a three-year contract. The cost varies by model and breaks down like this:
Samsung Series 5 Wi-Fi: $30 per user, per month (Enterprise) / $20 per user, per month (Education) / $429 (Consumer)
Samsung Series 5 3G: $33 per user, per month (Enterprise) / $23 per user, per month (Education) / $499 (Consumer)
Acer Chromebook Wi-Fi: $28 per user, per month (Enterprise) / $20 per user, per month (Education) / $349 (Consumer)
Acer Chromebook 3G: $31 per user, per month (Enterprise) / $23 per user, per month (Education) / $TBD (Consumer)
Businesses and schools must order at least 10 units to qualify for a subscription plan. In addition, both 3G models include 100MB of monthly data.
Anyone with an abacus can figure out that the three-year subscription prices all come out to more than what consumers can pay for a Chromebook outright. However, it's not exactly money flushed down the drain. Subscription plans are backed by a full warranty through Google, replacement provisions, technical support with a direct tech support line to Google, and a steady stream of updates (but not Google Apps). The value here for businesses and schools is primarily in the form of potentially reduced maintenance costs.
As for early termination fees, this is where it gets rough. Google says those who wish to duck out of their agreement before it expires must "pay out the rest of their contract."
Do these new details change your opinion of Google's subscription plans?