Google is rumoured to be set to announce a scheme where students can get a Chrome OS toting laptop for a $20 (£12) a month contract, mimicking the way in which many people get the latest mobile phones.

According to Forbes, Google will announce the deal later in the day at its Google I/O conference, and the package will include Google Apps.

Of course, this is the latest broadside from Google on Office in its attempts to get into the lucrative business market, challenging dominant rival Microsoft and its ubiquitous Office suite

Not only would this abide by the rule of catching people when they are young and setting preferences for life, Google is also likely to announce a corporate version of the deal so that businesses can get hold of hardware - and use Google's software rather than Microsoft Office - cheaply.

"Small and medium-sized businesses are banging on our doors to get something like this," Forbes quote an executive as saying.

There is, as you would expect, no news on whether this kind of scheme would be rolled out globally - and into the UK and Europe - but Google is a company that could afford to pump the amount of money needed to float such a scheme.

At the current time, the biggest objection to Chrome OS is that it is only truly useful when an internet connection is present, with the operating system very much built on the cloud.

Google is beginning to make some functionality available offline, although in the long term the indication is that the company fully believes that we will all soon be connected - be it by WiFi or next generation mobile broadband - at all times.

Via Engadget