Chromebooks Take Flight on Virgin America

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Google is definitely trying its best to get the word out about its ChromeOS-based Chromebooks. Now, the company has teamed up with Virgin America – one of the Silicon Valley’s favorite (yet perennially money-losing) airlines – to offer travellers to “test-fly” Chromebooks for free onboard their flights and at select gates from July to the end of September. Chromebook users – including those who bring their own ChromeOS-powered laptops on board – will also get free WiFi courtesy of Virgin America and Gogo. Travelers who stay in New York’s Ace Hotel will also find a Chromebook in their rooms.

virgin_airlines_voyeurVirgin America and Google are also setting up special “Chrome Zones” at the airline’s gates in San Francisco’s Terminal 2, Boston’s Logan Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare and the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

The point here, of course, is to familiarize potential Chromebook users with the idea of a web-only laptop that, at first glance, seems like it would be less functional than a regular laptop. By focusing on flyers, Google can demonstrate the long battery life of these devices.

On the other hand, though, this experiment obviously only works because there is WiFi on Virgin America’s planes. On flights without WiFi, the Chromebook is dead in the water right now, as Google still hasn’t made offline versions of most of its productivity apps available yet.

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Frederic Lardinois founded SiliconFilter in 2011. Before starting this site, he wrote about 1,500 articles for ReadWriteWeb. His areas of interest are consumer web and mobile apps, as well as Internet-connected devices like cars, smart sensors and toasters. You can reach him at [email protected]

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