In an effort to educate the masses about its new portable computing platform, Google has struck a deal with Virgin America that will see Chromebooks trialled by passengers on selected flights in the U.S.

Chromebooks will be available on flights between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and either Boston Logan Airport (BOS), Chicago O'Hare (ORD) or Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). Travelers will find "Chrome Zone" lounges at gates where it will be possible to grab a Chromebook for the in-flight use, as well as to use it while waiting for the flight. The use of the laptop and on-board Wi-Fi access is free (though you need to hand over credit card details) and Google Chrome staff will be present to assist passengers - and take the machines back at the destination airport. The scheme runs from July 1 until the end of September 2011.

Google has also announced that it is working with New York's Ace Hotel to loan a free Chromebook to guests for use inside or outside the hotel. The offer also lasts until the end of September.

As the Acer's Chromebooks are not yet on sale (they are available from July 11, according to Amazon), there is only one Chromebook out there at the moment - the 12.1-inch Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. Samsung's Chromebook features up to 8.5 hrs of battery life, less than 10 seconds of boot time and 16GB of SSD storage. It's is priced at either US$429.99 for the WiFi version or US$499.99 for the 3G+WiFi version.