Google has officially launched a pilot channel program around its Chromebook cloud-based notebooks, CRN has learned, but Australian partners are not included.
Google Australia told CRN it was exploring additional opportunities to expand the reseller channel in APAC but had no finalised details to announce.
"Chromebooks represent not just a new product but a new way of thinking about computing, so we are being very deliberate about how we extend the reach, step by step."
Launched earlier this year at the Google I/O conference, the small, low-cost notebooks are based on Google's Chrome OS. Claims from Google Apps resellers at the launch regarding the lack of a channel strategy moved the company to launch a pilot program in the US.
"The channel is tremendously important to us. We've been very deliberate about how we extend our reach since Chromebooks represent a new way of thinking about computing. Over the past several months we have been selling the product direct from Google and our next step is to involve some of our existing Apps resellers to open up the channel," a Google spokesperson said in an e-mail to CRN.
According to a pair of Google Apps resellers, the pilot channel program gives resellers the ability to sell the Chromebook hardware bundled with the web-based management console, which lets administrators configure and manage user accounts through a control panel which sets and enforces user and device policies.
Allen Falcon of Cumulous Global said he and other partners in the program will offer Google Chromebooks in one- and three-year pre-paid terms.
Falcon told CRN the early opportunity for Google Chromebooks lies within his education customers seeking a smaller total cost of ownership and more convenience in computing. He said the company can now create new services around the notebooks and include VDI, remote desktop and other capabilities to add new functionality and reach.
Tony Safoian, CEO of Google reseller SADA Systems, said the new program comes as demand for Chromebooks increases, especially in education and public sector environments.
He told CRN partners have flexibility with pricing and can also offer training, administration, deployment and setup services.