Microsoft has teamed up with laptop manufacturer Lenovo and chip makers AMD and Intel to announce that are to launch a trials in China and India for pay-as-you-go personal computing, using a model very similar to prepaid mobile telephone services.

“Today there are already more than 1 billion prepaid mobile phones used around the world, so we know FlexGo enables a familiar and comfortable pay-as-you-go model that works for people with variable or unpredictable income”, said Will Poole, senior vice president of the Market Expansion Group at Microsoft.

Consumers will be able to purchase a Lenovo desktop PC by paying about half of its street price up front, and paying the balance over time through the purchase of prepaid cards from Lenovo.

The new pay-as-you-go model is enabled by a new technology created by Microsoft called FlexGo.

After a predetermined number of usage hours, the balance of the PC will be paid off and the consumer will no longer need to purchase prepaid cards.

The new market trials in India and China will be launched during the next 3 months.

The first pay-as-you-go market trials will feature high-quality, mid-range Lenovo desktop PCs, which are loaded with features attractive to consumers. These models are already available worldwide.

“Lenovo’s joint effort with Microsoft using FlexGo pay-as-you-go computing will bring high-quality PCs within the reach of millions of families for use in education, communications and entertainment”, said Will Poole, senior vice president of the Market Expansion Group at Microsoft.

“This program creates new options for people whose access to personal computing would be limited otherwise", said Philippe Davy, vice president of Strategic Alliances, Lenovo.

Microsoft said it is also trailing the concept in Brazil, Hungary, Mexico, Russia, Slovenia and Vietnam.