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Google ready for holiday price war with Chromebook rentals

November 23, 2011

Unfazed by what looks like uninspiring sales, Google is more determined than ever to win over customers for its Chromebook.  And it’s starting by wooing New Yorkers.

With that in mind, Google set up shop in the city’s swanky Columbus Circle shopping mall in Samung’s flagship store just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Here customers can rent  the Chromebrook for free, for seven days — including 3G access. All they need is an ID and a credit card. (For those of you who may not recall, the Chromebook  runs Google’s Chrome OS and is a totally cloud based device). 

“It’s really popular even though there’s no big advertisement,” said a Google evangelist who did not want to be named.

In addition to the free rental, Google just lowered the prices for the Chromebook two days ago.

Samsung’s model now retails for $349 for the WiFi version while cellular access is available for $449 — courtesy of Verizon.  Acer’s version comes at a more affordable price of $299 for the WiFi model and $399 for a 3G version.

“You better check the price regularily though,” the Google rep said. “There’s a price war right now.”

Nevertheless, Google is ready and convinced that ’tis the season for the Chromebook.

 “We want to give people the opportunity to try the Chromebook for a while,” said Google’s product marketing manager Chrome Min Li Chan. Customers like to play around with devices before buying, she said.

The offer runs until the end of the year.  But those who want to buy the Chromebook will have to go online or to the usual retailers.

It’s not the first time Google is letting customers use its notebook for free. Google teamed up with Virgin America to give passengers a chance to use Chromebooks on flights and the Ace Hotel lends out Chromebooks to its guests.

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