Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) announced a new set of prepaid data plans specifically designed for devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) new Chrome operating system. The news is the latest indication of the tight teaming between the nation's largest wireless carrier and biggest Internet search provider.
Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney said the new pricing plans are for Chrome OS devices only, and are intended to encourage use of the wireless carrier's 3G network. The no-contract plans--which are similar to the data options AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) provides for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad--do not carry activation, overage or cancellation fees, and can be managed via a user's Chrome OS device.
Verizon's Chrome OS data options are:
--$9.99 per day for unlimited data use
--1 GB for $20 per month
--3 GB for $35 per month
--5 GB for $50 per month
Interestingly, Verizon also is offering Chrome OS users a free 100 MB per month for two years from the time they first activate the 3G service.
Verizon's pricing options for Chrome OS devices dovetail with the operator's existing plans for non-Chrome OS notebooks. According to the carrier's website, Verizon offers 5 GB for $50 per month or $80 for 10 GB per month for netbooks and notebooks.
It's unclear whether Verizon will be the exclusive wireless data provider for Chrome OS devices. A Google spokesperson said that Verizon is currently the only 3G service provider for Google's Chrome OS but provided no further details.
Google first announced its intent to build a computer operating system based on its Chrome Internet browser last year, and said at the time Chrome OS devices would be available by year-end. However, Google now anticipates Chrome OS notebooks to be commercially available by the middle of next year via manufacturers including Samsung and Acer. Google is now testing Chrome OS with select users, developers, schools and businesses.
Google's Chrome OS is not to be confused with its Android operating system. While Android runs touchscreen phones and tablets, Chrome OS is intended for notebooks. However, just as Android has morphed over the years, Chrome OS may as well. "Chrome OS is designed to work across a wide range of screen sizes and form factors, enabling our partners to deliver computing devices beyond notebooks," wrote Google's Linus Upson, vice president of engineering, and Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, in a post detailing the company's Chrome OS.
Verizon's support of Google's Chrome OS comes as little surprise. Verizon and Google announced a major Android push last year via Verizon's "Droid" franchise, and the two companies also have teamed on net neutrality negotiations with the FCC.
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Article updated Dec. 9 to correct 5 GB plan pricing.