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Virgin and Google team up for in-flight computing

Passengers departing from select airports on Virgin America will be able to take a Chromebook with them

Google’s Chromebooks have always been designed as multi-purpose devices, and after finding their way into the hands of employees of the City of Orlando, the laptops are now being put to a couple of interesting uses.

As of July 1st, passengers on board Virgin America and flying between Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and Boston will be able to borrrow a Chromebook for the duration of their flight. The laptops can be picked up from “Chrome Zone” lounges located in the airports and are free to use even though they require credit card info as a deposit.  Furthermore, passengers using CHromebooks will be given a free Wi-Fi session on Virgin’s in-flight Gogo internet network.

The in-flight Chrome OS usage should be a good time waster, but it isn’t the only way you can find a Chromebook during your travels. According to the Google blog, guests staying at the Ace Hotel in New York will now find a Chromebook waiting in their rooms upon check-in. The laptops will apparently include free Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity along with the “Ace New York Field Guide” app to help them find their way around the Big Apple. Sadly, it doesn’t seem as if this will be a permanent feature and will only be available between July 1st and September 30th  2011.

The pair of new initiatives announced by Google are definitely appealing, and could be a great marketing tool for the Chromebooks. Unfortunately, it is yet unknown if the offered Chromebooks will be limited to the Acer or Samsung models, but either one is a plus in our books. Now all that’s left is to find out whether it’s more economic to purchase our own Chromebook, or plan a visit to New York.


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Omar Qudsi, 2011-07- 2 (Update: 2012-05-26)