Google Selling $99 Chromebook Laptops to Schools
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook will cost donors just $99 while the program lasts.
Move over, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). Google is offering teachers the chance to get low-cost laptops for their students for $99 each. The Samsung models run Google's simplified Chrome OS, an operating system that relies largely on Google's Web-based applications. (The $199 OLPC, by contrast, has a rugged design targeted for use in developing countries.)
The offer is a big discount, since these Samsung Series 5 laptops normally sell for $399. Also like OLPC, Google's offer depends on the kindness of strangers. Teachers need to work through the crowd-funded nonprofit DonorsChoose.org, a kind of Kickstarter that helps raise money for schools.
Teachers can request up to 30 laptops for their school and then invite people to donate to this "project" through the site. (Projects have to be set up by Dec. 21.) Making Chromebooks available to students wasn't a last-minute decision. Google already has a program to sell laptops to schools.
Chromebooks were introduced in 2011 to a tepid reception. They are generally low-powered and not necessarily inexpensive. The Samsung model, which normally sells for $399, has a 12.1-inch screen and a 16GB solid-state drive.
For comparison, this week, Best Buy is offering a special on a 15.6-inch laptop from HP with a 500 GB traditional hard drive for $380. The HP also comes with a case, wireless mouse and 8GB thumb drive. (The OLPC model OX-1.5 features a 7.5-inch screen, with technology that makes the screen viewable in sunlight, and 2GB of storage.)
At the special $99 price for the holidays, however, the Samsung Chromebook is about as cheap as possible.